Monday, January 12, 2009

Henry Maudsley, M.D. 1884

Henry Maudsley, M.D. from Body and Will, p. 49 New York: D. Appleton & Co. 1884
"We rightly seek the meaning of the abstract in the concrete, because we cannot act in relation to the abstract, which is only a representative sign; we must give it a concrete form in order to make it a clear and distinct idea; until we have done so we do not know that we really believe--only believe that we believe it. A truth is best certified to be a truth when we live it and have ceased to talk about it."
As long as schools teach purely in the abstract from books or computers, children will have no means of testing the truth or accuracy of the observations of others. If conformity of view and complacency are our educational objectives, we have created the perfect system for them. One of Froebel's principles was that students needed to both take in learning and have the opportunity to express it in concrete form... not by taking tests to prove uptake of abstract data, but by creating concrete expressions of learning. Like the objects we make in woodshop.

Today I am preparing for tomorrow's classes. In the first and 2nd grades we will be making miniature horses for their Indian encampments. In 3rd and 4th, the students will be working on fractions, by cutting wood into pieces of specified dimensions for use as manipulatives in the adding and subtracting of fractions.

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