Sunday, May 13, 2018

commence learning.

We know that the human body is a sensory mechanism and it is that even before the moment of birth. Senses are not just for our amusement. They are the means through which we learn about our environment and our culture. The baby immediately learns that by crying out, attention to needs will come.

Pestalozzi recognized that learning began  began early, that the engagement of the senses was required, and he recognized too, the importance of the mother's role as the child's first teacher. The point was that children be led actively to name, observe, and measure with all their senses before being led to read and well before being tested upon that which they've read. The following is from How Gertrude Teaches Her Children.
Truth that springs from sense-impression may make tiresome talk and tedious arguments superfluous (these have almost as much effect against error and prejudice as bell-ringing against a storm), because truth so acquired generates a power in the man that makes his soul proof against prejudice and error; and even when through the continual chatter of our race they come to his ears, they become so isolated in him that they cannot have the same effect as upon the common-place men of our time, on whom truth and error alike, without sense impression, with mere cabalistic words, are thrown as through a magic lantern upon the imagination.
The train in the photo was one made in the Clear Spring School wood shop inspired by a boy who loved trains and wanted to make one. Who would not want to make such a thing?  We have gone off the deep end in artificiality of education, pushed there by policy makers who show little or no interest in the individual child. Students are measured through standardized tests that are strange and irrelevant to their own lives and interests. What's the point? Must we manipulate them to meet our own interests of management? Or can we recognize that learning and growing are the innate qualities of the child, and that we share those same learning impulses into great age if we are encouraged to do so?

 I offer a simple test. Ask yourself how you learn best and to deepest effect. Is it not by doing real things? If that is your best learning means, what would lead you to assume the same does not apply to kids? And if the same applies to kids, why would we offer a  substandard means of schooling that actually damages many of our children by sequestering them in boredom and disinterest for long periods of each day?

Making a simple train is an example of starting with the interest of the child.

Make, fix, create and allow others to learn likewise.

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