Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Books are a movie written down for you? This is serious...

So says an Ontario elementary student, interviewed in an article about a recent survey saying that third- and sixth-graders are "better" at reading than they used to be, but that they don't like to read.

And she was one of the ones who DID like to read.

The most successful teacher interviewed found her greatest success through having students make movies and video games of the novels they read.

What would Marva Collins think of that?  What would Dao Ngoc Phung think?

Those of us who hang out in the homeschooled, reading, classical/CM/literature based, "I have two thousand books here" subculture may not even be aware of how big this problem is. Charlotte Mason talked about opening doors into wide places, through books. This youngest generation (in large part) not only hasn't been shown the open door, but doesn't even know there is one.  One wonders if many of their teachers are in a much better position.

Our education system is running on fumes, folks.  "Get them reading anything" may be today's mark of success; it may get the car out of the garage; but good luck doing more with it than a few laps around the block.  What used to be a cruise down Main Street is as intimidating to today's children as a superhighway...or perhaps the problem now is that people just can't be bothered driving much at all--maybe just turning the key and listening to the engine is enough.  "We are too easily satisfied," C.S. Lewis said about spiritual matters, and the same phrase can be applied to educational issues.

Life is not a movie.  Books are not video games.  Fun is good, humour is good, but learning is also a journey, a quest, an adventure, and you take real adventures seriously.  As I've said elsewhere, quoting the late Carol Bly--can't we please, please have permission to be serious?

I'm serious.

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