Tuesday, January 03, 2012


Thankless Uphill Work

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (1832-1898, also known as Lewis Carroll), Diary, November 26, 1856:
I am weary of lecturing, and discouraged. I examined six or eight men today who are going in for Little-Go, and hardly one of them is really fit to go in. It is thankless uphill work, goading unwilling men to learning they have no taste for, to the inevitable neglect of others who really want to go on.
Little-Go, or Responsions, was the first examination taken by an Oxford undergraduate. "The subjects of the first University examination at Oxford are a Greek and a Latin book, such as two Greek plays and the Georgics (chosen by the candidate himself) to be construed and parsed; a paper of very elementary questions in Latin and Greek grammar; an easy piece of English for translation into Latin prose; arithmetic, to vulgar fractions and decimals; and the first two books of Euclid, or algebra to simple equations." (Report of Her Majesty's Commissioners Appointed to Inquire into the Revenues and Management of Certain Colleges and Schools... (London: HMSO, 1864), p. 24.) About one fourth of those examined failed. (Id.)

Related post: The Joy of Teaching.

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