Re: ranting for anarchy

Gerry O'Connor (goconnor@CCMAIL.SUNYSB.EDU)
Wed, 14 Aug 1996 16:16:12 -0400

I read Holt years ago (too many to list publically)and I started
putting students in circles. Got into all kinds of trouble with parochial
administrators who grew up on rows. But Holt is right in that we take kids
who have learned the most difficult thing in their lives (how to speak) on
their own, put them in a classroom and tell them that now we're going to
teach them something important. They start off excited by the newness of
it all, but before long they are dying in their seats. Until the dismissal
bell rings....The kids are back learning on their own!
We do similar things now in Freshman Comp. Rarely are students
there because they want to be. How do you get them to wanna be?
You're right; they have to discover it on their own. We can only
provide the environment for that discovery. You're also right; it is a
hell-of-a-lot harder. Just try and keep your itchy fingers off the student's
keyboard: "Why don't you try and write it this way?" Now the student sits
and waits for you, who, invariably, can do it better.
Why discover when you can sit back long enough and the teacher
will step in and do it for you.
And yet, when you are raised on spinnach, work with people who
thrive on the stuff, you have little choice but to urge the consumption
of spinnach. Then you read a little and suddenly you're thinking,
wouldn't it be great if..... That's when it gets really exciting.

Gerry O'Connor