For a short while – well, more like at least five minutes – I lost a French philosopher. I reckoned I could cope, as I had a government minister instead, and I could make up the philosophy bit, but then I found him again, where he should be, in the trolley.
I’d read about the Östersund football team, and how they dance, read, visit schools, behaving in a generally very cultural way. Apparently it has improved the soccer as well. They have a culture coach, whose favourite French philosopher Pierre Bourdieu’s thoughts are helping the team advance. (I don’t even have a philosopher, let alone French or favourite or anything.)
So, these young men act and perform and read, and I believe one of them even wrote a book. Judging by their names many are of non-Swedish origin. Many also seemed to think this culture stuff was stupid, until they discovered the benefits, like intelligence, and a better game.
Bourdieu’s thoughts on cultural capital go along the lines that education will open doors that money can’t. About how we often inherit this capital from our parents. This is both so obvious and so simple, and living in a country where people pay for ‘better’ education (without necessarily getting it) for their children, it’s encouraging to think it’s not necessary.
I mean, I knew that anyway, but sometimes you worry. (The fact that more privately educated children come to the Resident IT Consultant for extra maths lessons to help them pass their exams, could be because their parents are already used to paying [though they ought to be furious at having to pay twice], but it also proves that private schools aren’t the best.)
And then to top the philosopher, schools minister Nick Gibb last week said that ‘reading for pleasure is more important than a family’s socio-economic status in determining a child’s success at school.’ It’s very nice to hear that, but at the same time I wish his government would make this reading much more possible than it is at the moment.
We could be allowed to keep our libraries, and teachers could be given permission to spend more time on pushing reading for pleasure. But I suppose it’s going to be up to the parents to foster this love of reading, in which case they need to have this ‘capital’ to pass on, in the first place, and they need to have enough time and energy to support and engage with their children.
But at least it’s nice for someone to spout a sensible opinion, instead of the usual rubbish.
As for me, I don’t think that money would have taken me to the places and the people that books have, or that the English lessons at school helped achieve. Offspring would probably have done all right at any of the local schools. We picked ours for the rugby, and discovered by accident that it was also rare for offering two foreign languages. But no money passed hands, and the letters for private tutoring that the school was obliged to send home, went straight in the bin.