I see there’s been a bit of a ‘stooshie’ at Lasswade High School in Midlothian. Apparently a physics teacher of 27 years experience was discussing the ‘Big Bang’ theory of the origins of the universe with his S3 class. During the discussion he was alleged to have said that ‘people must stop putting their faith in things that cannot be proven’.
This remark reported by one S3 pupil to her parent has provoked an amazing outbreak of anti-Christian bile. The pupil’s father Mr Adrian Smales, a scientist has objected to the mentioning of creationism by the teacher who is presumably a Christian. Indeed he has gone to the press and is demanding that the school and the EA take action against the teacher.
Having spent 34 years teaching History and Modern Studies, I have some advice for Mr Smales: ‘get off your high horse’. S3 pupils do not welcome the kind of attention that you are drawing to them by your ranting.
When teaching, I was always up front about my faith. Pupils often asked for my perspective on the issues of the day which I was always pleased to give with the caveat: ‘this is what I think...... you may think differently’. This approach always encouraged excellent debate with pupils..............one of the key principles of Curriculum for Excellence.
What is most disturbing about the Lasswade High School Case is the uninformed anti-theistic ranting which the Scotsman newspaper seems to be pleased to air via its online edition. An article by former teacher Hugh Reilly entitled, ‘Creationists Threaten our Social Evolution’ plumbed new depths of uninformed and anti-theistic fascism.
According to Mr Reilly: ‘Creationists should be banned from school premises........creationists are a danger to our children.......they imperil our kids because, sadly, there are always going to be vulnerable youngsters who will embrace this gibberish version of the beginnings of life.’
As a former teacher I take issue with Messrs Smales and Reilly. Their attitudes are a huge insult to Scotland’s school pupils who want to be able to engage in debate and have informed discussions about the origins of the universe, evolution, creationism and intelligent design.
Perhaps we should ask them what they would like to learn about rather behaving like the thought police.
After all, one of the fundamental approaches to Curriculum for Excellence is the interdisciplinary approach to learning, where single subjects are no longer taught in isolation. This applies particularly to science where scientific issues should be considered in their moral, ethical, social and religious contexts.
Far from being hounded and labelled as a bigot, the science teacher in Lasswade High School should be lauded as one of the few teachers who has understood and implemented the new curriculum.
He should go to the top of the class!!!!
Dunces caps for Smales and Reilly !!!!