Friday, June 17, 2011

When Children Love to Learn: Chapter 2

The girls and the Warrior Poet are watching Curse of the Were Rabbit (Wallace and Grommit). I am reeling from the second chapter of When Children Love to Learn. In it, the author compares this teacher's classroom with that teacher's classroom-- sort of peeking into each room and describing what he sees and how it either affirms or denigrates the personhood of the child. I just wonder what he would say if he saw some of my teaching. Actually, I'd love to know. It would be helpful.

The child is already a person with a capable mind, with vast potential as well as limits.

I like how he described Principle 2-- "Children are... born with possibilities for both good and evil." He said they are created in the image of God (good) as well as fallen (evil). I am going to have to ponder that thought for awhile.

He also contrasted CM's philosophy with other theories of education--

*Behaviorists: manage many children, efficiency, child as object

*Piaget: lead child through developmental stages (concrete to abstract)

*Bruner: help child to cognitive insights which lead to self-actualization, child as "rudderless and morally neutral explorer"

*Freud: explore child's mind for deeper meaning, child as "animal at the mercy of drives beyond his control"

*Mason: present the child with a feast of learning, child as born person

Teachers tend to have a mix of philosophies they are trying to work from. CM's philosophy presents a unified whole.

"Authority rightly applied expresses respect for the learner, and takes into account the lines by which he or she is designed. While not abrogating the biblical mandate for obedience, true authority seeks to work in relationship with those under its mantle. Thus, the teacher desires to engage students actively as co-learners functioning with respect flowing from a caring and relational authority." (p. 62)

Two conditions necessary for the proper exercise of authority and docility:

1. Teacher must "act so evidently as one under authority"
2. "Children should have a fine sense of the freedom which comes from knowledge which they are allowed to appropriate as they choose, freely given with little intervention from the teacher."

Education is a discipline, too. "The key to supplanting the weakness of will in forming character is the discipline of habits formed definitely and thoughtfully, both of mind and body. To a great degree education is the formation of habits, while trusting divine grace."

At the end he briefly discusses, "I am, I can, I ought, I will!" It is a brave and faithful motto. Students are the children of the Creator. They have the ability to do what they ought, and, by God's grace, they will.

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