Augustine, Jerome, and Montaigne on the Educational Virtue of Following Your Whims
Enjoyed this and quite agree, though I chuckled a little at your distain for Swiss Family Robinson. That was a book I read multiple times "on my own time" while growing up. Only fond memories here!
I'm a high school math teacher, and this summer the faculty read was Neuroteach, by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher. It's all about how we can use the latest discoveries about brain science to improve teaching. Interestingly, they recommend using the classical Trivium - Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric - as a good framework for applying mind/brain/education research in the classroom. Those ancients were onto something!
I remember there were plenty of school lessons that I thought were hard or boring, but having to slog through them taught me valuable lessons about perseverance and discipline. However, I also had the freedom and encouragement to explore lots of things that I thought were interesting, either by reading books or trying various hobbies. I think you’re right that instilling a love of learning and growth is more important than checking every box on an academic list, because everyone will have holes they’ll need to fill later in life!
Thank you so much for this! As an English teacher, the focus on ‘a love for learning is actively promoted in schools… However, the actions put in place are usually lacking. I like to take a personal approach to teaching - providing targeted individual feedback and getting to know my students so I'm able to recommend books I know they'll enjoy. By taking an interest, by fostering strong relationships, students are far far more likely not only to succeed, but to have a good time doing it.
Your Month of May post, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (1958), Is One I'm looking forward to reading, because the Close reads podcast is going to do the book later this year.
Slow learner, slow reader here. But I loved to read, was continually reading at home. Teachers thought I should spend a period each day In a room with other slow Learners choosing books from shelves To read at a whim. (They threw me into the Briarpatch!)
A thoughtful piece, thank you. I know Montaigne a little, but I'm off to find out what I can about Jerome. Thank you.
This post is right up my alley Joel, thanks! (I have saved it for later reference). St. Jerome's instructions to Laeta are incredibly striking; who would have thought that such 'modern' hands-on learning methods and encouraging words would have already been spoken then?
"...how many students are simply turned off from learning because the subjects bore them to distraction or grind them to discouragement?" Fully agree - My son is fortunate in this regard. He has a particular interest in Tolkien and Arthurian legend and is currently taking a class wholly focused on this literature, including early Celtic fantasy to high medieval romance, Renaissance and Victorian poetry to the twentieth-century retellings of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and T.H. White. (He however did love the Swiss Family Robinson when he was younger, reading it while sitting in a tree:)