Friday, November 21, 2008

The Churchill Series - Nov. 21, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

It's true Churchill had significant academic problems while a student at Harrow. Math was especially difficult for him.

But it's not true, as some people put it about, that he was an overall failure. Quite the contrary.

By age fifteen, Churchill'd already impressed his Masters and schoolmates at Harrow with his knowledge of history. He'd won a class prize for Roman History and twice won prizes for English History.

Then Churchill began to excelling in another subject. He later said he had Robert Somervell to thank for that.

Somervell was Churchill's English Master. Churchill remembered him as 'a most delightful man to whom my debt is great."

Martin Gilbert records:

Somervell's method, Churchill recalled, was to divide up a long sentence into its component clauses 'by means of black, red, blue and green inks', and teaching it almost daily as 'a kind of drill'; by this method 'I got into my bones the essential structure of the ordinary British sentence - which is a noble thing.'
I hope you all have a nice weekend that includes some recollections of teachers that help you.

Martin Gilbert, Churchill: A Life. (pgs. 22-24)