I'd like to broach the topic at hand by pointing to a poem that articulates the deep sorrow and ache of the Modern Man: William Wordsworth's critique of the world caused by the Scientific Revolution, "The World is Too Much With Us.”
We often misuse words. Over time, the pictures and meanings of a word are slowly 'petrified,' and turn into just a sort of impression of the original. Instead of calling to mind a picture, they simply dwell in the realm of abstraction and a vague, contextual-based understanding of its meaning. The life-blood of the image is gone.
One example of this is the word “fascinating."
Over the many years of my education, I have found that the most exciting, interesting, and helpful things that I have learned is simply what words mean. We intuit the meaning of many words through context and common usage and avid readers will have a whole storehouse of words in their imagination from a young age whose meaning they can sort of explain based on the context of the book or sentence it came from, but when asked to actually explain the word they will be hard pressed to give a solid, satisfactory definition.
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is one of my favorite poems, and every time I read it I love it even more.
In his thought-provoking article, Individualism: The Root Error of Modernity, George Stanciu proposes that the foundational problem of Modernity lies in the false assumption that everything in the cosmos exists in-and-of-itself. He contrasts this belief with the Medieval assumption that things exist only in relationship.
Several years ago God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, saw fit to smite the radio in my car, so I don't listen to the news very much anymore. I do occasionally tune in when driving our other vehicle (which has a working radio), but I find that I've lost the taste for it. I can't stomach it, and usually turn it off after only a short time, because I realize now that 'the news' isn't news at all.
My three-year-old daughter, Alethea, is plenty old enough to feed herself when we sit down to the table for dinner, but sometimes she doesn't want to. She will leave her food untouched until it is stone-cold because she would rather someone to spoon the food from the plate into her mouth.
My sister-in-law and a good friend of mine are both getting ready to begin teaching for the first time, and in talking with them recently I was reminded of the first few weeks of my own teaching career. I was terrified.
In a different post, I explored the importance of metaphor and the idea that the metaphors we carry in our hearts change the way we experience life. In this post, I would like to explore some of the common, but dangerous, metaphors that form the way we understand school, teaching, and education.
Avoid these metaphors at all costs.
Metaphor to avoid # 1: A school is a business [The "Consumer" Metaphor]
Several years ago, this wonderful video inspired me to begin reading aloud to my children at bedtime every night. My kids are currently four, three, two, and two months old and I started reading nightly when my oldest was about 6 months. It has been a wonderful ritual, for both my children and myself. I've compiled a few "things you should know before setting out" for any current or future parents that might consider instituting a similar tradition.