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Old schools vs. new schools

I love to listen to the rhetoric that older, more established schools and newer, less traditional schools fling back and forth at each other. It’s a fascinating display of semantic nuance. Reading Terry Pratchett’s Unseen Academicals, I came across the following scene in which Lord Vetinari (i.e. The Boss) is describing two such institutions to Archancellor Ridcully, head of the more traditional school.

“What we have here, gentlemen, is but a spat between the heads of a venerable and respected institution and an ambitious, relatively inexperienced, and importunate new school of learning.”

“Yes, that’s what we’ve got all right,” said Ridcully.

Vetinari raised a finger. “I hadn’t finished, Archancellor. Let me see now. I said that what we have here is a spat between an antique and somewhat fossilized, elderly and rather hidebound institution and a college of vibrant newcomers full of fresh and exciting ideas.”

“Here, hand on, you didn’t say that the first time,” said Ridcully.

Veintari leaned back, “Indeed I did.”

Two very different perceptions of the same academic realities. And, as the technology-in-education debate really starts to heat up, it should be interesting to see where the rhetoric goes from here.