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English Nursery Rhymes

English Nursery Rhymes


Roger Brett 2017-12-07


Roger Brett håller på att översätta Celéstin Freinets bok "För folkets skola" till engelska. Då och då ramlar han på texter han skrivit i olika sammanhang tidigare. Nedanstående text skickade han till mig häromdagen.

I happened to read this by accident this morning I was a little shocked by the fact that it looks like something Freinet himself could have written! 



ROGER BRETT·THURSDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2015


I´ll get to the point as quickly as I can , while I´ve still got 65 years of pent up ire to ventilate. What provoked this particular bucket of bile dear reader was a 7 year old little boy I´m, tutoring at The Chestnuts school. His name is Adam and he is a very bright young man indeed (as it turns out)


Not knowing anything about him I took armfulls of English Nursery rhymes with me to our first session. My young pupil was not only born and lived in London , he also saw his very first light of day at the same maternity clinic as I. The Middlesex Maternity Hospital (Islington, London)


So I opened a beautifully illustrated compendium of English Nursery Rhymes and let him have a look through it not realising that he could already read and write. Nobody was more surprised than I when he pointed to one of the lavishly decorated couplets and said in his tiny little voice

“I don´t like this one!” I looked over and there it was :

 

What are little boys made of?

What are little boys made of?

Slugs and snails And puppy-dogs' tails

That's what little boys are made of.


What are little girls made of?

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice all things nice

That's what little girls are made of!


At that moment I felt myself being bodily whooshed back 65 years to a draughty wooden floored (and bottle green tiled) classroom, in Christchurch C of E Infants School in Willesden Lane.

 

I could still hear the faceless woman´s voice droning on, making us repeat robotically those same hideous lines which young Adam still finds distateful to this day.
I think it´s grossly unfair that lots of other things we learned in school have long since dropped by the wayside,while utter tripe....nee Bollox.....like this is retained on the retina of the mind.


At that same moment dear readers , I suddenly remembered why I hated that faceless woman from my formative past. Part of her job description was to drum this kind of rubbish into her charges by rote, the other was to constantly be on the lookout for “scribendum uti sinistra accuratiores” Miscreants like myself attempting to write with their left hands. That ´s what Ministry Of Education issue rulers were for , not for measuring and describing straight lines.......No, no ..they were for rapping little children over the knuckles in the cause of education. Let me tell you dear reader , with hindsight I can think of another application for those 12 inches of rectitude... with ease!


Anybody who reads my silly notes has as much insight as I do into modern educational methods and the way to bring up children. If you wish to however there are pages and pages written about What Are Little Boys Made Of on Wikepedia. It has also attracted the attention of the Militant Feminist Brigade who are miffed (amongst other things) that they are not included in the “Slugs & Snails bit! Which of course is a bit of a hoot in itself. But at the same time we have to ask ourselves what did the Victorian upper class nurds have on their minds all day long , especially those who were charged with the task of “Educating the masses!” OK Sigmund .....perhaps you were right after all.


So by a hairsbreadth I was almost guilty of perpetuating this bullshit for yet another innocent generation, were it not for the forthrightness of young Adam.
So normalcy has been restored until the next time we get a “hard-on” for some other social injustice or institutional bullshit which has been meted out by the truckload on auto pilot to us the “masses


Next time we´ll take a closer look at “Wee Willie Winkie!

 

Roger Brett

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