Spot The Form…

james shone

By James Shone

Spot the form…

This was one of my favourite sayings when I was a housemaster and I remember pupils would often mimic me because they’d heard it so many times. Before I entered the world of teaching, a friend told me what his housemaster had always shared when he was at school and it was this wonderfully general saying: ‘spot the form’. In this world where there is more and more mental and emotional fragility, this saying can provide a way of offering a fairly general and blunt critique which can achieve more than listing a person’s faults and inadequacies. I always found that using it could cover up a multitude of sins, often working better than the direct and overly confrontational approach that I could otherwise have taken. I accept that the truth sometimes needs to be told but I would counter it by saying –  not always. Remember that keeping the balloons of self-belief inflated for teenagers is fundamental!

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