In memoriam and tributes: Carol Pudwell

Carol Pudwell, who has died aged 82, was a student and lecturer in the Education Department at Goldsmiths for nearly fifty years (1957-2006): a period of radical change. His innovative work with MA students triggered a fruitful collaboration with local senior teachers, keen to explore new ideas. Carol will be remembered as an exceptional teacher. Committed to student-centred learning, he took a balanced view – valuing skills and knowledge equally – enabling him to steer a clear path through controversies in education that still resonate today. Carol is survived by his wife and ex-colleague, Stella, and daughters, Celia and Eleanor.

carol-pudwell-3Tribute to Carol Pudwell by Andy Christian

Carol was an inspirational teacher. Showing great good humour amidst all our student antics, he was serious in his encouragement of radical ideas in education and unafraid to challenge us when we presented ill thought out enthusiasm. In short, he was committed to getting us to think for ourselves. He was always quick to urge us to understand the major differences between education and schooling.

My time at Goldsmiths was formative. I was active in supporting the foundation of a Gay Society and Carol was quietly supportive also. He encouraged me to stand to become Vice President of the Students’ Union and to engage in radical activities. He introduced me further to classical music and he served me the first Vichyssoise I had ever tasted. I went to hear him sing at Hampton Court Chapel on various occasions; always an enchanting experience.

In 1977 he was the best man at our wedding and managed to balance his way through the celebrations with my odd family with charm and grace. Inevitably after his marriage and our move to Devon we saw each other less often. It did not negate the value I felt for him as a friend. It was as if he was always there. One of those few great friends I am lucky to have had in my life whose kindness and wisdom were undiminished by distance and time.

I am sad that he is no longer with us but so happy to have shared something of his positivism, his generosity of spirit, his measured challenges and the memory of his welcoming smile. Those things remain a treasured part of me. He was an extraordinary man and I know that he was more widely appreciated and loved than he ever came to know.

carol-pudwell-5Tribute to Carol Pudwell by Peter Bygott (formerly known as Kurt Graves)

I first met Carol almost fifty years ago, in 1968, when I began a four-year Teacher Training Course at Goldsmiths. I had the good fortune to have him as my Education Tutor for my first three years, and feel blessed to have been able to reconnect with him over the last twelve years or so.

Carol was a superb tutor. He had the ability to ask just the right questions; to draw out our innate wisdom. He lived and breathed the Socratic method, skillfully engaging us in dialogue and discussion to hone our critical faculties and uproot misconceptions and woolly thinking. I remember in my first year at Goldsmiths a third-year student (Andrew Crawley) referring to Carol as ‘The Master’: a perfect epithet.

He was such a gentle soul, with a kind, heart-warming presence. These qualities, together with his intellectual clarity and vast repository of knowledge, made him a wonderful Renaissance man. I recall spending a two-hour tutorial debating the symbolism of CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia; then going to a lunch-hour concert in the Great Hall and hearing him play solo violin with touching eloquence.

Perhaps the most important gift Carol gave me was an awareness of the concept of ‘receiving’ and just how we receive. I remember reading an article Carol wrote about how important it was to receive a child’s work in the right way. This had a profound effect on me and made me acutely aware of how I receive everything that comes to me, and ask myself if I am receiving with a loving and open heart.

Receiving with love was the very essence of Carol’s teaching. He was a true educator and one of life’s great encouragers: a truly inspirational man.