This is what he had to say:
As someone who was a member of this class, I can honestly say that it was one of the most enjoyable learning experiences I had in secondary school - and for this very reason.
Helping the 'poorer' people in the class actually helped further *my* understanding of the topics at hand and we all really enjoyed listening and learning from each other - there was no patronising or arrogance, just fun. And yes, Ewan, we chose to do it; it seemed natural.
One of my greatest memories was doing 'Journey's End' - a play with an all male cast set in the trenches of WWI - and we had such fun! There were no inhibitions and everybody just 'went for it', which had a knock-on effect on other areas, such as our final S-Grade talks. We had the same level of confidence and enthusiasm, knowing that there was no judgment.
I remained in Mrs B's class for Higher, which was mixed, and I’m afraid to say it wasn't quite the same. The boys from the previous year (myself included) were thought of as loud-mouthed and over-confident, but for us speaking out and having good debates was what we knew – we’d been doing it since we were 12! We soon took the new members under our wing, but they never quite ‘got’ it and were fairly boring to be around as a result.
Collaborative and cooperative learning are now a huge part of my daily teaching and I always think about my time in English and hope my children are having as much fun as we had.