Chapter 1 (part 1)
The premise of this chapter is the balance between "two philosophies of education that have been at war in our society for over a hundred years.....'romantic' and the 'classical' tendencies; the tendency to become entirely child-centered versus the tendency to become entirely teacher-centered."
I think this balance is exactly what Charlotte Mason achieved but it is so refreshing to hear it again from a modern voice. In fact, in this chapter Caldecott does exactly what Charlotte did. He walks us through the philosophies of various famous educators such as Montessori, Froebel, and Rousseau.
"What can we learn from this? Great educators differ in their conclusions about the nature of the child and the developmental stages that need to be taken into account, and even about the nature of the learning process, but each tries to devise an environment in which the child’s natural, impulsive quest for knowledge—or for beauty, goodness, and truth—canbe pursued with the teacher’s help."
"If attention to the child is the key to the teacher’s success, it is the child’s own quality of attention that is the key to the learning process..."
We cannot fail to grasp the ideas in the chapter on attention if we are going to truly understand education. My own way of saying this is-teaching is not learning.
An interesting article was circulating this week on the weakness of the academic lecture. I am very sympathetic to this subject because of my own inability to listen to a speaker for more than 30 minutes without becoming bored. I love to learn but I quickly become bored with stale ideas and most lectures cover only a single idea. Just tell it to me and get on with it. I can listen to audiobooks for hours on end and I can read for long periods of time but I struggle mightily to sit through a long speech. In other words, I do not have a short attention span, I probably have a rather long one, but I do not learn well in a lecture atmosphere.
This is why Morning Time will work better if we don't belabor it but move from book to book without long lectures, letting the ideas do their work. Of course, it is valuable to stop for conversation as long as it is not just one person (mom) doing the talking.
I also believe in the idea of the rest-step. We absorb only so much and then we need time to absorb more deeply what we have taken in. I know of no school or co-op which accommodates the way we really learn in sprints and spurts and rests. Plateaus are not times of stagnation but times of strengthening new growth. Learning is ALWAYS individual because of the nature of growth.
This is why I tune out when I hear people talking about classroom management at education conferences. Classroom management is not a educational topic; it is a sign that we don't understand how people learn at all. I know, I know, there will always be classrooms but they will never be able to achieve across the board learning. It is against nature. I will entirely retract this in the comments :) because classrooms do teach things, some of them valuable skills-like how to read a book while listening to a lecture without being caught or how to sneak out of class after roll call without being seen or how to get the cute guy to look at you. These skills are important too.
How about we do this-
Tell me what you remember from the best lecture you ever heard or sermon.
In Hermeneutics- I will always remember that the main thing is Ramm. That's it, but then again I did successfully sneak out a lot. Still I know where to go if I need to know and it was not class.
In Sermons- the best sermon I ever heard was by one of the worst speakers. His text was from Psalm 107 "...and then they cried out to the Lord..." That is all I needed to know to carry me through many of life's trials.
In College Algebra-I remember I had the cutest sandals. I wish I could find a pair like them again.
In College Speech- I remember never to sit in the front row. People spit.
I spent about 15 years of my life in classrooms and the last 30 years making up for it.