Aitkenhead, D. et al. (2016, September 13). ‘I was in awe’: our most inspiring teachers – and what they recall about us. Retrieved from: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2016/sep/13/most-inspiring-teachers-guardian-writers-love-learning
But while I was busy badgering Andy to explain how atheism came about, I failed to notice that he was teaching me a skill I would use every single day of my life. Andy taught me how to approach an essay not as an opportunity to demonstrate how many facts I’d managed to memorise, but as an exercise in presenting competing arguments. I learned how to devise two or more interpretations of a historical narrative, and to test them against each other in order to arrive at a conclusion. Andy didn’t – as Michael Gove might assume – teach me that facts were unimportant. On the contrary, I quickly learned that a thesis unsubstantiated by factual evidence would be marked an automatic fail. Instead, Andy taught me to identify salient facts, and deploy them to maximum effect to justify an argument. It was a total revelation.