The English Tradition of Teaching

From A.S. Byatt's Possession, which I'm about 70 pages into and think I really like (p. 26 in my edition):
Blackadder [...] noticed and corrected a phletora of errors, accompanying this correction with a steady series of disparaging comments on the declining standards of English education. In his day, he said, students were grounded in spelling and had learned poetry and the Bible by Heart. [...] But in the best English tradition he did not consider it his business to equip his deficient students with tools they had not got. They must muddle through in a fog of grumble and contempt.
Don't know whether this attitude is particularly common in England, but anyway, this is remindful of the madness that is the method by which universities choose their teachers. Imagine car dealerships selecting their sales personnel on the basis of how good applicants are at accounting and you get a rough idea.

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