Re: ranting for anarchy (fwd)

Gerry O'Connor (goconnor@CCMAIL.SUNYSB.EDU)
Thu, 15 Aug 1996 20:51:34 -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 and cherished rows. But Holt is right in
that we take kids who have learned the most difficult thing in their lives
(how to speak and communicate) 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 and having a great time! Just like the students
Marcy is talking about.
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, sometimes 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 spinach (one of the few green
veggies I actually like), work with people who thrive on the stuff, you
have little choice but to urge the consumption of spinach. 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