I’m currently reading The Story of My Life, by Helen Keller. In this edition, letters are included at the end that Anne Sullivan, Helen’s “Teacher”, wrote about her progress. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this part of the book, and wanted to get some quotes down here I thought were especially noteworthy.
I am beginning to suspect all elaborate and special systems of education. They seem to me to be built up on the supposition that every child is a kind of idiot who must be taught to think…Let him go and come freely, let him touch real things and combine his impressions for himself, instead of sitting indoors at a little round table, while a sweet-voiced teacher suggests that he build a stone wall with his wooden blocks, or make a rainbow out of strips of coloured paper, or plant straw trees in bead flower pots. Such teaching fills the mind with artificial associations that must be got rid of, before the child can develop independent ideas out of actual experiences.
Whew. Thank goodness I don’t have to be sweet-voiced to teach my kids.:)
Since I have abandoned the idea of regular lessons, I find that Helen learns much faster. I am convinced that the time spent by the teacher in digging out of the child what she has put into him, for the sake of satisfying herself that it has taken root, is so much time thrown away. It’s much better I think, to assume that the child is doing his part, and that the seed you have sown will bear fruit in due time.
More to come later.