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Surplus subjects learnt at school.

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3404619/07/2019 18:31:55
593 forum posts
6 photos

I studied 14 subjects for O level - because I had to.

Since leaving school the only one regularly used, apart from English, is maths.

I could never understand why I had to learn LATIN written and oral ??

Bill

Mike Poole19/07/2019 18:39:36
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2017 forum posts
46 photos

Latin could be handy if you ever felt the calling to be a Catholic priest. I found it interesting when I realised that English also had similar rules and structure to Latin but isn’t taught in the same way.

Mike

pgk pgk19/07/2019 18:44:04
1397 forum posts
278 photos

The pyramid of choice gets narrower as we get older. Nowt wrong with a wide grounding and doubtless you had some ideas regarding what you wanted to do and took fewer subjects later. Fnally you retire and hobble around with odd hobbies and a bit of gardening - finally your latin becomes useful with all those plant names.

pgk

Roderick Jenkins19/07/2019 18:48:12
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1757 forum posts
445 photos

Until the the late sixties you had to have Latin 'o' level if you wanted to go to Oxford or Cambridge. It would have been a pity to constrain your choice if you didn't have it wink

Rod

Brian G19/07/2019 18:55:14
513 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by 34046 on 19/07/2019 18:31:55:

...

I could never understand why I had to learn LATIN written and oral ??

Bill

Perhaps because that is what a "Grammar School" teaches? English, Greek and the Humanities were gradually added over the centuries.

I was lucky enough to go to a Technical School. Starting out as a spectrographer, moving to chemistry and then production planning, design, and finally quality gave a purpose to having studied physics, chemistry, maths, technical drawing and statistics.

Brian

3404619/07/2019 19:06:59
593 forum posts
6 photos

Brian - you were indeed fortunate

What I would have given to do the same.

Bill

Howard Lewis19/07/2019 19:07:44
2149 forum posts
2 photos

Maybe the advantage is that the surplus subjects leave you with an understanding of the principle, rather than detail.

Have very rarely needed to make detailed use of my S level Physics, or Chemistry, nor to do many calculations involving the Theory of Structures. Have spent an awful lot of time finding solutions for the errors made by those who did!

But very appreciative of the usually self effacing folk who did get it right, so that it worked first time!

In the bus industry, we used to say that the Assistant Chief Engineer learned more and more about less and less until he knew every thing about nothing; whereas the Chief Engineer learned less and less about more and more, until he knew nothing about everything. Sadly, I could name one of the latter!

All knowledge is useful, but some is more useful than some of the other; depending upon the circumstances.

You never know when that snippet may be useful, if not a life saver!

(Once came upon a lady who had lost a wheel from her car. Once it had been returned, we took one wheel bolt from the other three wheels so she was able to drive slowly and carefully to the garage that failed to tighten the four lost ones, and repair the damage! )

Howard

Mick B119/07/2019 19:42:22
1126 forum posts
62 photos

I found Latin a drag at the time, but I'm now grateful for it. It makes several other languages easier to understand even if you can't speak them, and it exposes the structure, roots and original meanings of very many English words too.

IMO the boundary in knowledge between that which makes life practical and that which makes it interesting is never sharp.

old mart19/07/2019 19:52:02
319 forum posts
26 photos

I've never needed differential calculus since leaving school.

Sandgrounder19/07/2019 20:04:10
172 forum posts
5 photos

Football?

Mike Poole19/07/2019 20:13:18
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2017 forum posts
46 photos

Calculus was interesting but I have not found it useful either but I can imagine it could be useful in some jobs even if software can do many of the tasks where it may be useful. I still don’t know how to play football as they only played rugby at my school

Mike

vintage engineer19/07/2019 20:27:11
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146 forum posts

They tried to teach me Religious Studies until I got suspended for arguing that there was no proof that Jesus existed!

3404619/07/2019 20:31:38
593 forum posts
6 photos

Ah Mike  - Rugby - grammar school or public school - football not permitted. I have to say I absolutely detested my public school with its better than thou attitude.  Did not sit well with a farmers boy.

The only thing I really enjoyed was the Army Cadet Force and shooting for the school at Bisley.

Bill

Edited By 34046 on 19/07/2019 20:33:07

larry phelan 119/07/2019 20:34:15
458 forum posts
11 photos

Yes indeed, very few of them wanted to hear the truth.

not done it yet19/07/2019 20:45:31
3162 forum posts
11 photos

I had to learn some latin - 3 years, I think - but I did attend the Royal Latin School, so not so surprising!. I think we only did 10 or 11 subjects at GCE ’O’ Level - then on to ‘A’ Levels. Latin at GCE, as a requirement for Oxbridge, had gone by the mid 60s, I believe. Might still have been needed for a humanities course, mind, but not science (I think).

Unfortunately, in those days, the girls were not allowed to learn shorthand and typing skills as those types of careers were frowned upon by the school - only the secondary modern lasses had the benefit of such lessons and the jobs they led to.! Not good for those who did not progress to ‘A’ Levels.

Until 1963, the grammar school did not have any wood or metal working facilities - we went over to the secondary mod school for a double lesson in woodwork once a week while the girls did domestic science.

Definitely more academic than technical/practical. I never learned anything in art or music classes. There were only two of us doing ‘A’ Level Chemistry in my cohort as the humanities were so much more popular (or easier?).

I use my maths, English and sciences all the time. How else can most understand the underlying technicalities of modern-day living?

OK, most don’t - they just absorb the fake news and use text-talk and google, etc. Youngsters are easily persuaded by lobbyists (those pushing products on u-tube). They are often unable to think for themselves. But, I don’t suppose things have changed much, really, over the generations. Perhaps a change from labour intensive careers to key-pushing, but that is all.... remember that half the population is below average...

Swarf, Mostly!19/07/2019 21:00:50
492 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by not done it yet on 19/07/2019 20:45:31NIP.

Until 1963, the grammar school did not have any wood or metal working facilities - we went over to the secondary mod school for a double lesson in woodwork once a week while the girls did domestic science.

SNIP.

I have to disagree with you there.

I attended Woking County Grammar School for Boys (to give it its full title) between 1947 and 1954. On the lowest floor of the school building there were an active woodwork shop and an active metalwork shop. There was also a third shop known as 'the Plumbing shop' though I have to admit that that one was only used as a miscellaneous storage space.

That building is a Police Station nowadays - re-purposing it must have been quite a challenge for the architects concerned.

Best regards,

Swarf, Mostly!

john fletcher 119/07/2019 21:17:32
516 forum posts

How fortunate you all seem to be. I was a boy in WW11, at school we had old ladies out of retirement, who didn't know much and taught us kids less. they fell a sleep in front of the open fire in the afternoons and woe be tide you if you woke them up. Don't remember 11 plus either. With only the three Rs before joining, I had my education in the army, hated it but turned my life around. Spent two horrible years in fly blown Egypt, the electrical courses I went on were good. In the end, so was the pay, which was linked to ones technical achievement. John

Bill Phinn19/07/2019 21:18:27
189 forum posts
38 photos

I wouldn't say any subjects I did at school were surplus subjects. Slightly unusually perhaps, I took Latin O level and Latin and Greek A Levels, then went on to do a degree in something I didn't even have an O Level in: Biological Sciences.

Bill Davies 219/07/2019 21:49:51
83 forum posts
10 photos

I have found that I used pretty much everything I learned at school; I can't say whether that was the planned outcome. My wife studied Latin (and French and German) and I have found her useful to have a first stab at explaining the meaning of some arbitrary word. In this regard, she is replaced by Google translate.

I worked for a multinational firm for some years, learned some Italian post-school, which proved useful to break some ice and get a little credibility, although four years of school French provided less benefit. However, I feel that was my fault. On occasions I have used most of the Maths learned at school and college.

My generation (at least in Surrey, or was it all of England) didn't learn Biology (if you were a boy, otherwise it was Physics that was unavailable to you). A loss now, I wish I understood more, it seems quite useful.

A Computer Science degree in my thirties provided knowledge not taught at school, would it have been available when I was at school? So it seems from earlier comments that we might have benefited from whatever we were taught, but we value more that which we learned later. Perhaps we were becoming more responsible in our learning?

Bill

Harry Wilkes19/07/2019 21:55:43
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688 forum posts
59 photos

I had a choice I went for German as it help me since leaving school absolutely visited Maastricht on a coach tour and was able to order 5 coffee's also was able to communicate to a visitor from a French supplier to my company who was in fact German who spoke perfect English.

Much like fellow forum member Vintage Engineer I was on more than one occasion sent out of English lit for not paying attention I was in fact busy watching the girls playing net ball wink

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