Thursday, May 26, 2011

Narration I: The Student Whisperer

I got three of my four books today, and began reading The Student Whisperer. I'm already on Chapter 3. It's a page-turner.

(I'm reading while the rest of the family watches Fiddler on the Roof for the umpteenth time. They just love that musical. I love listening to them watch it. The Warrior Poet sings Tevye for me sometimes, "Do you love me...?" I love it. And him.)

I had a great time reading the preface. All kinds of CM ideas were popping out, stuff like

*education being an atmosphere: "A great mentor knows how to set the stage for transformational experiences."


*education being a discipline: "There is a huge difference between flat, uninspired discipline that bores the creative mind, shuts down the heart-connection and consistently puts glaze on student eyes, and deep, passionately inspired rigor."

I am looking forward to finding some new applications for these ideas.

In Chapter 1, I got a little weirded out by all the capitalized substantives-- the Path, the Call, the Vital Choice, etc. It sounded very New Age-y.

I finally did some research and found out that these are terms within an educational philosophy called TJEd-- A Thomas Jefferson Education. Duh. The book is co-written by the founder of the movement and published by their publisher. Why didn't I notice?

I don't know a whole lot about TJEd, but the capitalized terms turn me off. Why do I feel creepy reading about how someone is off the Path or on the Path? It seems pseudo-religious. But I don't understand the terms very well. She gets into the meanings in the second half of the book, and I wanted to read the book from beginning to end. I did dip into the second half just to catch a couple of definitions.

She is a good storyteller. Now I am in the middle of her academic journal excerpts. I feel like the book is flowing more.

I am interested in learning more about the simulations she experienced at George Wythe University. I guess debate and mock government are simulations too. But these simulations seem much more involved.

She is writing a lot about philosophers and how she agrees and disagrees with them. She is a follower of Christ. She comes to the conclusion that, "happiness comes from aligning our will with God".

Here is something her mentor, Oliver deMille, said about answering (and not answering) questions: “Teachers should… let the student figure it out on his own. But teachers must also take a stand—not always, not with every question—but teachers must clearly stand for something and on occasion they must take a stand on an issue and clearly defend their reasons. Teaching is all about inspiring and few things are more inspiring than someone who has clearly thought something through and will openly articulate why.”

The first part reminds me of Quaker eldering, and the second of the word fitly spoken that is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Another thing I keep thinking is that I want the kids to understand logic before they graduate. They need to be able to think clearly and realize when they, or someone else, has unspoken assumptions.

Another thing I keep thinking is that I want to narrate like her. At one point her mentor encourages her with the realization that she is connecting different thoughts to reach creative, original thought-- syntopical understanding! Yes! I want that. It happened in her third academic journal, which I think must have been her third year at the university.

The journals themselves are very interesting, but I am most interested in watching the transformation of her thought processes. I'll have to read the section twice or more, I think.

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