CS Lewis (Was: Favourite books)

deborah deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Tue Dec 14 22:22:22 EST 2004


On Tue, 14 Dec 2004, Melissa Proffitt wrote:
|When I was old enough to think about it, I started resenting the fact that
|everyone wasn't being taught the way we were in my fourth grade gifted
|program.  We were challenged to do different things, not necessarily more
|advanced ones, and how "gifted" the project was mostly depended on what the
|student chose to do.  The theory was that all of us were capable of learning
|and that learning was something fun, not boring.  And it never was.  I wish
|that had been my entire educational experience, not just one afternoon a
|week for about a year.

Oh, man, that's so true.  When I was a kid, I did these gifted kids'
"Starting Early at Salem State College" programs, taking classes in
calligraphy, writing, silk screening, puppet making ... that sort of
thing.  Later I did CTY, the summer program for which you take the SATs
in junior high (I think it's TIP in the south), and did the same thing,
only with less emphasis on the puppets and more on the actual classes
(I did astronomy, but the nerdier nerds did calculus.  In junior high).
All these programs were wonderful, and reserved for the so-called
gifted.

My housemate Becca only recently stopped working at an amazing program
called Citizen Schools ( http://www.citizenschools.org/ ) which does
basically the same thing, in urban schools, with no test for giftedness.
They have what they call an apprenticeship program, where professionals
come in from the real world to teach someting interesting.  I taught a
class how to do an energy audit one summer, complete with exciting labs
that almost worked.  They build robots and computers; they dance; they
garden; they learn martial arts; and their mock trials, in a lawyer
taught apprenticeship, are famous.  The kids get to have the same fun
that would usually be reserved for kids who already like school, plus
they end up showing vast improvements in school, probably because they
learn that school doesn't always *suck*.  (Watch me say something nice
about the Boston Public Schools.  Hmm.  Um.  They could be worse?
There, that was nice.)

There's no reason to reserve the enjoyable parts of learning for the
kids who are born luckily smart and non-dyslexic or what-have-you.  It's
like the kind of torturous system DWJ's parents would come up with.  It
seems like the school in Time of the Ghost.

-deborah, procrastinating
--
In plain then, what forbids he but to know,
Forbids us good, forbids us to be wise?   -- Paradise Lost

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