Priceless Lesson Old Lady Wheelwright Flunked

2 06 2007

Still grousing mentally over Old Lady Wheelwright’s disapproval of love, choice and relevance for kids in school. So I dug out an opposite perspective from another retired educator, Marion Brady.

I found it at NHEN from 2004:

I think home education naturally lends itself to these “lessons” much better than today’s schools do. Imo when we help the public understand concepts like the four principles listed here, we build support and understanding of our own education freedoms — and maybe make schooling better in the process. JJ

May 22, 2004
COMMENTARY
Priceless lesson:
Teacher, students put learning into action

By Marion Brady

(excerpt)
What brings the kids to class?

Without a doubt, reason No. 1 is Brian
Schultz. He’s demonstrating the impossible-to-measure impact of a teacher who cares about, listens to, and genuinely respects kids.

Two: One of the most powerful human needs is for autonomy, independence, control over one’s actions. The drive is probably even more powerful in kids than in adults. Within the narrow boundaries that our traditional approach to schooling permits, Schultz’s fifth-graders have autonomy and control.

Three: The kids are out of their seats, dealing with the real world in all its intellectually stimulating complexity.
Contrast that with the “sit down, shut up, listen-because-you’ll-need-to-know-this-next-year” fare they’d come to expect.

Four: Succeed or fail, what they’re trying to do is genuinely important, not merely in the context of schooling, but in the larger world beyond the fence. It’s not just getting ready for the next grade, not just a game or simulation, not just preparing for a test, not just jumping through yet another ritual hoop, not just doing what their parents or Schultz wants them to do. It’s learning as means to end — making Cabrini-Green a better place.

The young need reasons they consider legitimate for learning to read and write, and nothing is more legitimate than making a difference in how well the world works. The costs of failing to recognize that fact are incalculable.

Marion Brady, a longtime educator, lives in Cocoa. He wrote this commentary for the Orlando Sentinel.

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