Monday 19 February 2018

'It should be about drawing out potential, not beating things in'

Classroom Confidential: Mark Fielding

Mark Fielding, chief executive of ISME
Mark Fielding, chief executive of ISME

John Costello

His school days were a strict diet of Latin, Greek and the leather strap. But while he went from hero to zero academically when he started secondary school, Mark Fielding, CEO of business lobby group ISME, proved he had bouncebackability when it came to his David Moyes moment.

So, were you the class swot or trouble-maker-in-chief?

Somewhere in between, but I certainly wasn't a swat [laughs].

What school did you go to?

I went to St Joseph's CBS in Thurles. It was a shock going from a primary school of mixed classes into an all-boys Christian Brothers school. I fell behind very fast. I used to be top of the class, but in the first exams in the Christian Brothers I would have been in the worst three or four.

I think that is what is now referred to as doing a David Moyes.

Well, I recovered in the last two years thankfully.

What were your favourite subjects?

In those years if you were in the A class, which I was because I was a goody-goody, you learnt everything through Irish and I also studied Latin and Greek. But my favourites were geography, history, Irish and English.

Were you filled with pride or trepidation when the school report was sent?

I definitely approached it with trepidation in the middle years! I just about scraped through my Inter Cert but improved for my Leaving Cert.

Do some of your teachers still spring to mind?

I had a number of favourite teachers. Jacky Andy Ryan taught me English and he was a very good teacher. Jack Marr, who is still alive, taught me geography and Brother O'Leary Irish and maths.

Many found the Christian Brothers a tough experience. What's your take on things?

It was tough but I found it fair. They certainly didn't suffer fools and you got plenty of wallops. They had no problem taking out the leather. But it was the way of the world back then. I found nothing wrong with it, but looking back on it now it was a funny way of teaching.

Is there anything we should be doing differently nowadays?

Education should be about drawing out the potential of students rather than beating things in.

Do you think children these days get enough of an insight in business?

Whether you are a doctor, a dentist or a schoolteacher you need some idea of how business works. This should be taught through life sciences or business.


Irish Independent

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