The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

So, I am suspicious of education

As a College and as teachers, we likely rest easy at night, proud of our efforts to educate young minds to contribute in positive ways. But is this reality? Surely not every educator is solely driven by a desire for a better world and other altruistic endeavours. There must be some thought of regular holidays and swimming carnivals on hot days. Of course, it is possible that a desire to work with uncomplicated young people and long summer holidays can combine to motivate people to go into teaching, and probably do, but hopefully a sense of promoting good in the world is a big focus too. I say this in response to the quote below from a letter, sent by a Holocaust survivor to educators, and published in 'Teacher and Child', by Dr Haim Ginott.

"I am a survivor of a concentration camp. My eyes saw what no person should witness: gas chambers built by learned engineers. Children poisoned by educated physicians. Infants killed by trained nurses. Women and babies shot by high school and college graduates. So, I am suspicious of education.

My request is: Help your children become more human. Your efforts must never produce learned monsters, skilled psychopaths or educated Eichmanns. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important, only if they serve to make our children more human."

Sanctimonious as it may be, I believe our College makes significant efforts to ensure our curriculum and co-curricular activities are focused on upholding our values of Service, Stewardship and Integrity. Essential curriculum and skills such as the three R's are mandatory, as they should be, but we also embed service learning and citizenship into our curriculum and have dedicated class time for things such as the Year 10 Service Programme and the Year 8 Community Project. We can be proud of our efforts to build empathy and tolerance in our young men and hope that we are living up to our mission of producing young men of character who are active members of the global community.

Hopefully we aren't all, "loser teachers", as Donald Trump Jnr called our US counterparts last week. Certainly spruiking socialism is not anything I've seen in classrooms, but helping children become more human is an honourable vocation and something Scotch College places great importance on.

Community Project Launch

On Thursday the Year 8 cohort took part in a workshop to launch their Community Project. The day was a great success and the boys are now well and truly on their Community Project journey.

The day began with Dylan Smith speaking. Dylan is the Executive Officer of the Fremantle Foundation, a community foundation started in 2010. Community foundations exist around the world and general focus on one local area, although the Fremantle Foundation is equally focused on other areas of Western Australia. There website says, "We exist to create a thriving community through local giving. We address critical community needs by providing inspiring ways for people to give. And we provide ongoing support and advice so your donation has maximum social impact."

Dylan spoke to the boys about his transition away from being a professional footballer and the birth and growth of the Foundation. He had some excellent messages and anecdotes for the boys, not least the importance of place and building strong roots in local communities.

The Fremantle Foundation is going from strength to strength and the College was fortunate to have had Dylan as our guest.

Here is a website with more information on community foundations.

Other guests on the day were Rob Bartlett (OSC, 2014), and Ceinwen Roberts our new Swim Coach. Rob spoke to the group about his work at Radio Lollipop and how the organisation has grown. We learnt that Perth was the first Radio Lollipop location outside the United Kingdom and a lot about the simple aims of the organisation. Rob was able to speak about his experience that led him to realise the importance of laughter and distraction to sick kids. Ceinwen focused on the establishment of the Euroz Coldwater Classic for The Leukemia Foundation and how she saw a need and was determined to contribute towards finding a cure. Her experience in organising big events allowed her to relay some excellent advice to the boys and give a strong plug for swimming at Scotch too!


Over six instalments in 2019, Old Scotch Collegian and 2018 Western Australian Young Person of the Year, Kamsani Bin Salleh, will create pieces that reflect the Noongar seasons. He started on Thursday with Bunuru and we look forward to welcoming him back in Djeran.