I don’t mean to be too flippant here, nor to accord cricket too great an importance in the great kerfuffle of life—I simply say that the reason that test match cricket exerts such a tremendous fascination is that is shares so many qualities with the greater, more terrible dramas that make up the human experience.
It does so in a condensed, peaceful form and triumph and failure on the cricket field are ultimately trivial but the game moves us just as great art moves us. To pretend otherwise is, it strikes me, silly. That is, sure it’s only a game but it’s also not just a game.
In other words, it is life. And like war, and life, that sometimes end in stalemate. Which means a draw. There are winning draws and losing draws and plain old dull draws. But without them, or the possibility of them, everything else is too neat, too simple and, in the end, too unsatisfactory.
A Sydney girls’ school is redefining the concept of cheating by allowing students to “phone a friend” and use the internet and i-Pods during exams. Presbyterian Ladies’ College at Croydon is giving the assessment method a trial run with year 9 English students and plans to expand it to all subjects by the end of the year. An English teacher, Dierdre Coleman, who is dean of students in years 7 to 9, is co-ordinating the pilot which she believes has the potential to change the way the Higher School Certificate examinations are run. The Board of Studies is looking at ways it could incorporate the use of computers in the exams. Ms Coleman said her students were being encouraged to access information from the internet, their mobile phones and podcasts played on mp3s as part of a series of 40-minute tasks. But to discourage plagiarism, they are required to cite all sources they use.
“In terms of preparing them for the world, we need to redefine our attitudes towards traditional ideas of ‘cheating’,” Ms Coleman said. “Unless the students have a conceptual understanding of the topic or what they are working on, they can’t access bits and pieces of information to support them in a task effectively. In their working lives they will never need to carry enormous amounts of information around in their heads. What they will need to do is access information from all their sources quickly and they will need to check the reliability of their information.”