Saturday, May 22, 2010

Philosophy of Education Ch. 6 Pt. 1 Education is an Atmosphere

“Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.”
Charlotte Mason opens this section by discussing the “atmosphere” part of education. She does not believe in creating a “child environment” that is specially adapted to kids rather we should value the atmosphere of the home and let them live freely in these conditions. To quote Charlotte: “It stultifies a child to bring down his world to the child’s level.” She points out how many wonderful things a child learns in the atmosphere of a family i.e. the interaction between parents, siblings, older relatives, and even pets. Children must “face life as it is” not be put under a glass dome where they are “protected” from the elements of life. This is a sure way to stunt their growth. (Note: she is talking about families that have the correct balance of parental authority. Where the parents are training their children in obedience not families where there is dysfunction.)
It may be more difficult during school hours to obtain the same atmosphere as during “home life” so we want to be careful not to “water down” or “sweeten” the lessons, for when we do we make it very hard for the child to overcome the “intellectual feebleness” and “moral softness” that comes from a lax schooling.
In the latter part of this section, Charlotte describes the teachers and students at her school compared to students she has observed that only learn for “grades”. She says that her students delight in knowledge and this can be seen on their countenance. The countenance of the students who are learning solely to achieve a “grade” are not joyous and serene but anxious and worried, they don’t sleep well and are moody. Most teachers in her day would observe children like this and say the work was too hard. Doctors of her day would prescribe a year of “running wild” to cure this. When in reality, the student needs to learn to delight in knowledge for knowledge’s sake. The fault is not in the work but in the atmosphere. So the choices are 1)a hot-house type of atmosphere where children grow to be feeble and dependent or 2)Let them have open “air” environment, so to speak, with careful overseeing, so the elements of life don’t totally batter them but where they can grow strong and learn independence.


Nancy said...

Excellent narration, Jodi-Marie! I hope your students saw you doing this - you're the best example for them.

Ring true,

Melissa said...

Wonderful job! The best way to "own" knowledge is to be able to 'tell it back, 'share it'!

amy in peru said...

I have to agree with Nancy and Melissa! ;)

thanks for adding to the cm community by submitting this post to the cm blog carnival! ;)

amy in peru