Letter: Dryden's lesson

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The Independent Online
Sir: John Delafons (Letters, 16 December) quotes some verses of John Dryden. I think that another of his is relevant to any educational discussion:

By education most have been misled;

So they believe because they so were bred.

The priest continues what the nurse began,

And thus the child imposes on the man.

Priests and nurses have lost their influence, but both children and their mentors should ponder the baleful influences that tend to replace them. Three hundred-odd years after Dryden, it seems we have still not solved the basic problem: how far, against a background of facts which are both incontrovertible and important, the instilling of beliefs should replace the true meaning of education, namely teaching to think.

Yours faithfully,


Arnside, Cumbria

16 December