Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Forcing That Vital Spark

Intelligent teachers are well aware of the dry-as-dust character of school books, so they fall back upon the 'oral' lesson, one of whose qualities must be that it is not bookish. Living ideas can be derived only from living minds, and so it occasionally happens that a vital spark is flashed from teacher to pupil. But this occurs only when the subject is one to which the teacher has given original thought. In most cases the oral lesson, or the more advanced lecture, consists of information got up by the teacher from various books, and imparted in language, a little pedantic, or a little commonplace, or a little reading-made-easy in style. At the best, the teacher is not likely to have vital interest in, and, consequently, original thought upon, a wide range of subjects.

In a rare moment of clarity, Katie realizes that while attempting to explain seemingly obscure passages to students, she has been guilty of sucking the life right out of the educational process. And the books aren't even dry-as-dust texts.

...We perceive that the great work of education is to inspire children with vitalising ideas as to every relation of life, every department of knowledge, every subject of thought; and to give deliberate care to the formation of those habits of the good life which are the outcome of vitalising ideas. In this great work we seek and assuredly find the co-operation of the Divine Spirit, whom we recognise, in a sense rather new to modern thought, as the supreme Educator of mankind in things that have been called secular, fully as much as in those that have been called sacred.

Katie is recalled to her task of helping her children on to good habits and introducing them to as many living ideas in as many areas of life as possible. A large task, she thinks. Good thing the Lord is willing to lead in this area, as in others. Now to ask for help and get out of His way.

(Quotes taken from School Education by Charlotte Mason, Chapter 15.)

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