Thursday, March 17, 2011

You thought your reading list was challenging?

"A discussion of Little Women included everything from a lesson on the Civil War to an explanation of the allegory in The Pilgrim's Progress, which the little women in Alcott's novel loved to act out.  When the children studied Aristotle, they learned the principles of logical thinking.  Plato's Republic led to de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, which led to a discussion of different political systems, which brought in Orwell's Animal Farm, which touched off a discussion of Machiavelli, which led to a look at Chicago's City Council."--Marva Collins' Way (1982)

And how did Marva Collins get so smart?

"I read constantly in order to tie together fragments of information and interweave subjects.  As a business major in college I had not taken many courses in the arts and sciences.  My education was about the same as that of the average grammar school teacher, merely a sampling of some basic courses.  I had to teach myself more.  I read with an urgency so I could teach my students what they needed to know.  I believe a teacher has to keep polishing his or her skills.  You can't take the attitude 'I know how to teach,' and resist learning anything new."
"Theodore shouted, 'Hey, Mrs. Collins, that's cool.  Everything links into something else, doesn't it?'
"Marva beamed.  'Now you've got it.  Every scholar, every writer, every thinker learned from those who came before.  You are all becoming so erudite, we are going to have to dub you MGM--'Mentally Gifted Minors.'"

3 comments:

Annie Kate said...

Yes, it's all about learning on and on and on. But the question I have is: how on earth do we remember enough to make connections?

I attended a lecture last night that suggested that the great scientist Faraday was heavily influenced by Kant. It was a totally new thought to me, and now I 'have' to learn about Kant and RElearn about Faraday's ideas. There's just not enough time and brain space, but Marva Collins somehow did make it work. She's an amazing woman.

Miss Nirvana said...

I 10,000% agree with you that as teachers of our children we need to keep reading and keep learning ourselves. I constantly work to push myself outside of my comfort zone.

To Annie Kate above, the more familiar you are with a topic the easier it is to learn new things in a subject because you have greater background knowledge. Keep reading. Keep learning. That is the only that it will come.

Nancy said...

I read that book some 15 years ago - it influenced me and I should revisit it. I still have the book list from the back!

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