Friday, August 10, 2012

Chapter 3: Education is the Science of Relations

Ok, this is the final section of this chapter on the Four Pillars of Education! I found much food for thought here about how Miss Mason viewed the interconnectedness of learning. Indeed, she said we "personally have relations with all that there is in the present, all that there has been in the past and all there will be in the future...Every child is heir to an enormous patrimony, heir to all the ages, inheritor of all the present (p.113-114)."

This concept is so fascinating to me, as I can see even at my children's young ages (5 and 3) how absolutely fascinating everything is to them, how deeply they consider things, how readily they come up with fantastic questions and understanding I wouldn't guess they would have. Since they are heirs to all that is in this wonderful world, they do not need "a showman," as Miss Mason calls it, a teacher setting up connections for the child. I think this might extend to the idea of unit studies, which have the tendency to veer into twaddle territory, forcing a connection between all the subjects the children are covering. "The mind of the child is made to search out connections in life and learning, to appropriate ideas and relate them in novel ways to new avenues of learning, and to gain insight in an environment of trust and mutual respect" (p.119). How can new and creative ways of looking at something be discovered if the material has been pre-digested and connected for the child? All they will learn is how we think, not how to think on their own. I do love, however, that CM education sees the obvious and beneficial connection between the study of literature and history, and while the books are read concurrently with one another, the student is responsible to make the two disciplines combine in a meaningful way for himself.

The teacher's role in this science of relations is particularly interesting to me, because, well, I'm the teacher! "The teacher provides direction and guidance, feedback and exhortation, and then stands back in an attitude of masterly inactivity"(p.123). Give good material, point in the right direction, help if needed, let the student run with the ideas. We are the mentors and keepers of accountability, not the sources of all truth and answers. We too are learners, but in a position of authority. 
Now, onto the subjects themselves, with all of this in mind!

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