Sunday, February 28, 2010

Philosophy of Education vol 6 ch.3 pts 3-5

Just as the body has “appetites” the spiritual and intellectual parts of us do too. Children desire to “know” and it is our job to use this natural “appetite” or curiosity to educate them. It is the practice of “schools” to play on the child’s desire to be first or to win by offering prizes and other incentives. We think there is no harm in this because it looks like the children are stimulated to learn. This practice actually chokes out the desire to learn and is replaced by cramming just to get the best mark.
Another part of the mind to consider when educating are what some may call feelings. Basically, Charlotte says they are boiled down to two: love and justice. We should appeal to the natural desires for true justice and make the sole motivation for learning be “because this is right” and not just the want of approval from others.
We should not train a child morally by “hand feeding” them but by allowing them to “eat by themselves” from hearing about or seeing the conduct of others who act in positive moral ways. This is why a broad range of subjects and materials must be used. You never know what will capture the mind of a child and provide the example he needs. It is different for each child. Charlotte calls “moral lessons” which are predigested “worse than useless”. Instead, we should give the children “moral feedings” and let them draw the lessons themselves. We can see in children the natural ability they have for love, which includes expressions of kindness, generosity, gratitude, pity, etc. and they should therefore be given the best examples in art and literature and more importantly the examples in the Bible to strengthen them morally.
As educators we should also expound on the inborn sense of justice in our students. They should learn that what they think of others is “a matter of justice or injustice” and that truth is justice in the form of words. Good citizens have a mind that can discern the truth.
From this sense of justice, children should learn what their “duty” is. The example given was that it is our “duty” to our neighbor “to keep our hands from stealing”. From this sense of duty should flow the sense of honesty and from honesty, integrity of thought.
Lastly, education should have an effect on the soul of the child. Because of the inborn senses of love and justice, man will realize that we have an “irrepressible need” for God and not just a “serviceable religion.” “How should we prepare the child towards God?” Charlotte asks. They must learn and read and have knowledge of God through the Bible.

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