Professor Stanley Nisbet Lecture


The Annual Nisbet Lecture 29thNovember

Professor Stanley Nisbet

Professor Stanley Nisbet


Diary Date
Diary Date


We will be in touch with you soon regarding the detail of the forthcoming Nisbet Lecture. We expect the invitations to be posted on Monday November 7th.


The Speaker is Professor Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Glasgow.


The lecture will be held in the Sir Charles Wilson Building (see map).


Professor Robert Davis, Head of School of Education, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

Professor Robert Davis, Head of School of Education, College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow

 Our thanks is extended to Professor Bob Davis and to his PA Jennifer Thomson for all the preparatory work.

Isabel Nisbet
Isabel Nisbet

We have been in touch with Stanley’s daughter Isabel in Singapore and both she and Stanley’s brother John are, again, looking very much forward to listening to Professor Muscatelli’s remarks.


Sir Charles Wilson Building
Sir Charles Wilson Building


Sir Charles Wilson Building

Sir Charles Wilson Building - Street Map


Isabel, Professor Stanley’s daughter and Professor John – his brother will be in attendance.







Watch these pages and the main website for updates.


Invitations will be issued soon. It would be pleasing if the Colloquium could be well represented and we would also welcome guests on the evening. If you have name(s) of interested individuals please be in touch ASAP.




Stanley Nisbet’s Educational Seminars

Those taught by Professor Nisbet will remember the rigour and stress of the seminars held as part of the M.Ed. Those not lucky enough to be taught by him will remember these seminars being overseen by those eminent students he did teach and who still revere him.

 Colin Holroyd in his recent speech at the 2011 opening dinner summarised this method most eloquently and although it features in his speech, it is worthy of distinction.

Below is Colin’s summary of the Seminar method many of us will remember

 John Cavanagh

“The theoretical basis lay in Whitehead’s Rhythm of Education. The central idea of this is that all education should proceed by moving through three repeating phases. He called these Romance, Precision and Generalisation. Romance is messy, involving, emotional and unstructured. Precision involves the development of structure and system based on experience gained and to generate principles; generalisation means the use of these in real and practical situations. Think of the stages being playing, finding order and then using – then repeating the cycle; generalisation is the next stage of romance. Think if you like of playing on a see-saw, formulating the principle of moments and then solving a problem about levers. Yes, Bruner can be related to Whitehead.

Suppose you have eight students in a group; the class meets for sixteen meetings; each student is in charge of two meetings; each is guided in a section of a topic; for the first meeting he or she has to generate six statements worth making (what makes a statement worthwhile has been clarified). At the first of the meetings the student has to clarify and defend his or her statements and then chair a general discussion on these. The discussion is relatively unstructured; it is wide-ranging and often emotionally charged and laughter-provoking. At the second meeting the student chairman has to secure agreement of the group to as many of the statements as possible, re-wording as necessary. A record of the meetings is kept and each student has to sign his or her name to the statements agreed with. These second meetings are serious, business-like, they involve precision and negotiation. The decisions taken do matter.

Those of you who haven’t taken such seminars may think they give the tutor an easy life: leaving the students to do all the work. Not at all, it is jolly hard work being a facilitator, a clarifier, an unobtrusive helper – as well as being a participant. This aspect of my work in the department earned me more praise and student affection than any other. I still meet people who tell me that this seminar was the highlight of their higher education. I am still deeply grateful to Stanley for providing a framework in which I could work and derive huge personal and professional satisfaction”.

Dr Colin Holroyd

Dr Colin Holroyd



Colin Holroyd 6/10/11 Bridie Library


4 Responses to Professor Stanley Nisbet Lecture

  1. Am I right in saying that the memorial lecture is on November 29th?

  2. Details of the Stanley Nisbet Memorial Lecture will be posted very soon.
    It will be held in the Sir Charles Wilson Building. The colloquium is delighted to have the Principal and Vice Chancellor – Professor Anton Muscatelli as the speaker. Details of his theme will be forthcoming.

  3. Apologies for referring to this as the ‘memorial’ lecture. I think we agreed we would drop the word memorial distinguishing it as a celebration rather than a perennial obituary. I will adjust the blog content and ask John Cassidy to do so on the website.


  4. Please push for full atendance at the Stanley Nisbet Lecture.
    The event takes place on 29th November at 6pm (see location and directions above). Bring a friend. We are keen to see as large a turnout for what will be a stimulating contributution form Anton Muscatelli.

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