Friday, 1 November 2013

Post Script: Education, Education, Education...

I must be one of the few people who didn't study Of Mice And Men for O Level...(they didn't have GCSEs in my day.) I did read the book a very long time ago along with Cannery Row, and I have to confess to not being able to remember much about either of the stories, except a depressing lack of hope.
My son, as you may know from the previous post, has read the book for GCSE English and enjoyed it. And, as you also may know he has since had all that enjoyment squashed out of him by the very same GCSE method of study. I did however manage to persuade him to come along to the Royalty Theatre's production of it. He wasn't exactly a willing or enthusiastic conscript. "I got the feeling you weren't giving me the option to refuse" he admitted. His feeling was correct; I admit it!
He was pretty impressed by the play, liked the way they had tackled it. Enjoyed the humour. But he
did fidget as "that speech" drew closer. That's the problem for him. It wasn't just that he knew what was coming, it was that he knew by heart what was coming. Curley's wife's speech has been read and reread, discussed and dissected ad infinitem until it has come to be nothing more than a tedious requirement of course work and exams. The irony is not lost on me. Curley's wife suffers a not dissimilar affliction, a life of tedium and a lost dream. Hopefully the outcome of Mark's boredom will not be quite so catastrophic.
I take heart from the fact that he enjoyed the theatrical experience, was able to comment intelligently on the production, and also that he admitted he has allowed his classroom experience to negatively influence his enjoyment of the play.
He is much more self aware than I ever was at his age, so maybe the education system is doing something right...or maybe I am?

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