What is the summary of Chapter 17 in To Sir With Love?

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The Half-Yearly Report of the Students' Council, an assembly entirely arranged and presented by the students themselves, is held on November 15. Miss Joseph and Denham preside, and the meeting begins with an address by Mr. Florian, the headmaster. Following his lengthy but well-received presentation, each class takes a turn reporting, through their chosen representatives, on what they have been studying in each subject so far. Finally, a panel of teachers is chosen for each class to answer any questions pertaining to the reports which have been given. The lowest class begins first, and it is obvious that as the students progress through the ranks there is "a marked development in their ability to express themselves." Mr. Braithwaite's class, being the oldest, goes last.

Miss Joseph begins the highest class's proceedings by explaining that the common theme underlying all their studies this term is the interdependency of mankind. Potter speaks in the field of math, focusing on how greater understanding in the world is fostered by the use of common weights and measures. Miss Pegg and Jackson speak on geography, and Miss Dare and Fernman discuss the subject of physiology, with Fernman stealing the show by exhibiting a model of a human skeleton and stressing the class' conclusion that "basically all people were the same." Miss Dodd reports on history, and Miss Joseph on domestic science. Denham creates a stir by speaking on the required subject of P.T. and games, complaining that the class "was ill-conceived and pointless.

Mr. Weston, Mrs. Dale-Evans, and Miss Phillips are chosen at random to answer student questions arising from the senior presentations. When Denham pursues his inquiry on the necessity of requiring all students to take P.T., Mr. Weston responds quite ridiculously, trying to bluster his way out of the subject, and offering no coherent argument for the requirement's continuance. Surprisingly, quiet Miss Phillips steps in and gives a sturdy defense of the practice, and Denham, knowing that he has been outwitted, has no choice but to respectfully cease his heated protest (Chapter 17).

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