BA Oxford (St Edmund Hall)
What makes a good teacher at Bedales?
Authenticity and integrity.
What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?
The meaning gained from connecting ideas. Through the process of linking new concepts to our existing view of the world we start to make sense of the unfamiliar. Through looking for pattern in apparently diverse – and perhaps mundane – phenomena we start to recognise common underlying structures, as well as identifying what makes things distinctive. “Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height.”
Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?
I am a Sixth Form tutor and I enjoying playing violin in the school orchestras. I especially look forward to attending the weekly 3i talks where students give an informal presentation on a topic in which they have a particular interest; the ensuing discussions are often very fascinating! I run Messy Maths during an afternoon break – biscuits with Maths problem solving – both are messy activities. My wife, Lele, comes in to school periodically to talk with the A Level History students about her experience of growing up and living under apartheid – modern South African history is now studied as part of the History course.
In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?
For me, the fact that it is the quality of the human relationships that we forge being more important than the roles we have. Consequently, we can be more sensitive to what we feel and more open about what is important to us. Which in turn lead to authenticity and integrity.
Who or what inspires you?
Jacob Bronowski – his Ascent of Man documentary series which I saw as a teenager when it was first shown on BBC2 is a significant influence. For him, Mathematics is entwined in our culture. As well as being a leading mathematician Bronowski authored books on William Blake.
Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.
I write occasional book reviews for the Mathematical Association's magazine, Mathematics in Schools.