What makes great teaching?
Published: Sunday, 08 February 2015 15:37
At school in the early 1980s one of my favourite teachers was the magnificently named Dr Cattermole who taught Chemistry with spectacular flamboyance. A man who seemed to have become his own caricature, Dr Cattermole’s battered visage was entirely consistent with a complete disregard for even the most obvious of precautions for his own safety; his clearly planned eccentricities of speech and behaviour invariably secured the interest of his adolescent pupils; his ability to ask exactly the right question at exactly the right moment to uncover a misunderstanding or to develop a thought was extraordinary (and occasionally, at least for my youthful self, somewhat unnerving). I have largely forgotten the intricacies of aromatic alcohols but the memory of Cattermolic inspiration lingers on. Was he a great teacher? He was certainly regarded as such within the school and I fondly remember his enthusiasm for his subject, the clarity and insight of his explanations and, in an age before the internet, his seemingly encyclopaedic knowledge.
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