Monday, December 30, 2013

transcendental unity of apperception...

Understanding Immanuel Kant may help
if you wish to understand Froebel, and it may help to understand Froebel first if you want to come to a clearer understanding of Kant. Froebel devised an educational system that purposefully led the child from a narrow conception of self into a sense of larger self, taking into consideration, alignment of being with that of family, school, community, and nation. The word apperception was used by both Froebel and Kant .

Kant talked about a transcendental unity of apperception. As one grows in power of apperception, the sense of self grows toward the elimination of common interpersonal boundaries and restraints toward a sense of transcendental understanding. Apperception can be defined as: "1. Conscious perception with full awareness. 2. The process of understanding by which newly observed qualities of an object are related to past experience." The second definition would fit Froebel's use of the term. He was concerned with developing a model of learning that led the child gently from the arms of loving mothers into the arms of loving schools and communities and maintaining the sense of unity in the child's relationships. His idea was (in part) for all that was learned to be anchored in the child's experience so that it would be useful, and make the child powerful in his own life. The following is from James Laughlin Hughes' book Froebel's Educational Laws for all Teachers.
He not only realized that apperception was essential in the evolution of mind, he saw that apperception could not take place unless the mind contained the germ elements corresponding to the new knowledge to be communicated to it, and he wished to form apperceptive centres in the heart as well as in the mind. He valued apperceptive centres of feeling even more than apperceptive centres of thought. He reasoned that the more the child's sensations and emotions are defined and varied the greater its possibilities for growth be come, and he wisely concluded that the worst period during the life of a human being in which to leave his mental and moral evolution to chance is the time when his mind and heart are being organized and charged with the power centres which to so large an extent decide his tendency, his range, and his strength. He planned a system of education that would give the child experience as a basis for instruction and for ethical culture, and demanded that the home and kindergarten should send a child to school with "a foundation, a basis, a sum of living germs in the life material it has gathered." In this department of educational investigation he had the widest scope for originality. No one had preceded him, and few have yet been able to follow where he led. There is still need of intelligent study on the part of educators to extend the good work begun by Froebel in order to increase the stock of germ elements in the minds and hearts of children before they go to school — even before they go the kindergarten. The need for this definite training of the child's powers of sensation and emotion in its earliest years has been greatly increased since Froebel's time by the extraordinary recent growth of great cities. Both in Europe and America the number and size of cities and large towns has rapidly increased. The tendency to leave the farm and the forest for the supposed advantages of urban life is one of the alarming social movements of the age. The children are the greatest losers by this change. The child brought up in the country close to the glories of Nature has the opportunity to obtain a much richer mental and moral foundation than the child who lives in the city. If allowed its freedom among the flowers, the trees, the birds, the insects, and the ever-changing growth of Nature in its varied forms of living and trans forming or evolving organisms, the country child needs little guidance in gaining a wide experience of sensations and emotions as a basis for its future conscious development. Here the child needs but the perfect sympathy of its mother, in love with Nature and with her child, in order to have its mind filled with a vast store of the germs of mental strength and moral beauty, which are ever freely communicated to the child or the man who can hear what Nature is whispering or see what she is doing. In cities the child is not so fortunate. Its range is limited and the conditions are un natural. Therefore, while The Mother Play is invaluable to all teachers, kindergartners, and mothers, it is needed especially in the homes of cities and towns to widen and define the experiences of children so that they may have minds full of germ centres to which the varied knowledge to be given in the schools may be clearly related, and hearts in which the emotional foundations of character have been laid.
Froebel's concern was for the fullest possible development of each child. Froebel believed in the individuality of each child and that every child had special powers that the school must successfully unleash. Now we have a policy of making certain that each child meets some minimal standard. Each child is processed according to a policy of fragmentation rather that being directed toward unity and transcendence.

These days, the whole of the planet suffers from that fragmentation. Children are wrongfully removed from nature and from the kinds of experiences being a part of wilderness and wild life can provide. And the consequence is that children are being raised with little understanding of nature or of why we need to be engaged in protecting it. As an alternate reality, I found this video of a visit to Bill Coperthwaite.

My own self-activity in the woodshop led me toward an understanding of the unity of all things.. that all subject materials are interconnected, and within that matrix, I and every other human being on the planet exist in a state of oneness. That should be the model for American education... directing our children toward an understanding of the interconnectedness of all things.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. I appreciated this. Apperception is so important in our learning. NO ONE talks about it. Thank you for sharing this. I hope to read more.