Sunday, October 17, 2021

five or six Ds.

When a student in Pestalozzi's school was told to look at a picture of a ladder, the child asked, "why should I look at a picture when there's a real ladder in the shed?" "We don't have time to go out to the shed," the student was told. Later when the child was presented with the picture of a window, the child asked, why do we have to look at a picture when there's a real window right there? We don't even have to go outside to look at it." The teacher complained to Pestalozzi and was told that the student was right. Whenever possible, lessons should be based on the real world. But we confine our students to classrooms and isolate them from deeper engagement. 
 “The sensational curiosity of childhood is appealed to more particularly by certain determinate kinds of objects. Material things, things that move, living things, human actions and accounts of human action, will win the attention better than anything that is more abstract. Here again comes in the advantage of the object-teaching and manual training methods. The pupil's attention is spontaneously held by any problem that involves the presentation of a new material object or of an activity on any one's part. The teacher's earliest appeals, therefore, must be through objects shown or acts performed or described. Theoretic curiosity, curiosity about the rational relations between things, can hardly be said to awake at all until adolescence is reached.” -- William James. Talks To Teachers On Psychology: And To Students On Some Of Life's Ideals. 
Much of what troubles post modern education is its artificiality. Even the pretense that it is all engineered as a benefit for our children is a distortion of the facts. The simple message should be clear. The things that most ail American education can be described as the 5 D's. We've got disinterest, distraction, disappointment, disillusionment and disruption. Some students go though 13 years of schooling without ever being disruptive, but most suffer at least from the first 4. We can add another D, for depression. It's how we all feel when recess is deprived us.

Make, fix and create...

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