Saturday, January 14, 2012

LTW Lesson 5 Arrangement: Division

We are currently in Lesson 5, just beginning the section on Division.  Once the issue has been separated  into "affirmative" and "negative" sides, and you have chosen your side, you divide the other side more finely into the parts you agree with and the part you don't agree with.

This makes me happy.  Imagine the discussions we can have if we take a moment to walk to the other person's side and say, "here is where I agree with you".  And if we listen when another person divides his or her argument.  Proactively eliminating straw men.  Clearing the stubble so we can gather the wheat.

The only problem I can see with division is that people sometimes don't realize there IS a point of disagreement when you first give them the ways in which you agree.  People have short attention spans nowadays.  They don't always stick around to hear the end of the argument. ;o)

For instance...

Question/Issue:  "Is Kindergarten the best training ground for a child?" (from Charlotte Mason's Volume 1)

Affirmative:  Young children should attend Kindergarten.
Negative:  Young children should not attend Kindergarten.

Charlotte took the negative on this issue, but first she delineated all the ways she agreed with the Kindergarten movement.  Here is one example: the Kindergarten the child's senses are carefully and progressively trained: he looks, listens, learns by touch; gets ideas of size, colour, form, number; is taught to copy faithfully, express exactly. And in this training of the senses, the child is made to pursue the method the infant shapes for himself in his early studies of ring or ball.

But it is possible that the child's marvellous power of obtaining knowledge by means of his senses may be undervalued; that the field may be too circumscribed; and that, during the first six or seven years in which he might have become intimately acquainted with the properties and history of every natural object within his reach, he has obtained,exact ideas, it is true––can distinguish a rhomboid from a pentagon, a primary from a secondary colour, has learned to see so truly that he can copy what he sees in folded paper or woven straw,––but this at the expense of much of that real knowledge of the external world which at no time of his life will he be so fitted to acquire. Therefore, while the exact nicely graduated training of the Kindergarten may be of value, the mother will endeavour to give it by the way, and will by no means let it stand for that wider training of the senses, to secure which for her children is a primary duty.
(Emphasis mine.)

See it?  First, she affirms the good of the Kindergarten movement ("the child's senses are carefully and progressively trained").  Then she offers her disagreement ("the field may be too circumscribed").  Then comes the division ("he has obtained exact ideas, it is true... but at the expensive of much real knowledge").  She says in some ways Kindergarten is an excellent idea, it fits a child with exact habits of observation and execution... BUT... what about real knowledge (by which she meant knowledge obtained by children at liberty in the open air, through exercise and investigation, albeit with some direction from mother).

(Note:  This also seems to contain antithesis.  Now I wonder what are the similarities and differences between antithesis and division...)

And this is just one point in her Kindergarten argument.  She did this with each single principle she felt was vital in the education of young children.  Yet I have had conversations with people who thought Charlotte was squarely in Froebel's camp.

btw, the Apostle Paul used division too.  Think about that the next time you discuss the book of Romans.

So. Division.  Excellent tool.  If we learn to use it, perhaps we will also learn to recognize it.  ;o)


rachaelnz said...

Thankyou for this post, Katie. I am liking what I read about the Lost Tools of Writing on your blog. I rarely comment, but I always read your posts!
Division is an interesting concept, I will look out for it as I am currently reading through Romans.
Education surely is a science of relations: my husand and I have started a 10-chapter a day bible reading plan, and parts of what we have read each day are popping up all over the place!

Katie said...

I'm glad you find the posts helpful, Rachael! Blessings on your Bible reading. :)