Start with: one pound ground pork; half a can tomatoes, frozen; 2 cups rice and lentils, frozen.
Add in: half a bag leftover shredded cabbage.
Brown the pork and stir in the rice and lentils.
Casserole out of the oven.
Eat with rye bread.
"Now the thought that we choose is commonly the thought that we ought to think and the part of the teacher is to afford to each child a full reservoir of the right thought of the world to draw from. For right thinking is by no means a matter of self-expression. Right thought flows upon the stimulus of an idea, and ideas are stored as we have seen in books and pictures and the lives of men and nations; these instruct the conscience and stimulate the will, and man or child 'chooses.'" ~~ Charlotte Mason, Philosophy of Education, page 130
"He merely calls the thing about which he was thinking by a name which is other than the one by which we call it. We should agree with him at once if we could read his mind and see directly the thought which he was unable to express by the words spoken and the statement made. They say that definition can cure this error, so that in this case, if the speaker were to define what virtue is, it would be clear that the controversy is not about the thing but about the word. Now I may grant that this is so, but how often is it possible to find good definers?"
"I had grave doubts about my fitness to discuss the question of research in the humanities, because I have been deflected from everything that could conventionally be described as research, in the sense of reading material that other people have not read, or have read for a different purpose." ~~ Northrop Frye, "The Search for Acceptable Words," in Spiritus Mundi
"Every prosy lecturer to the young who urges his dear young friends to count ten before they reply to an angry speech...is a practical supporter of Mr. James."So there we are, back where we started. But Adams has one more point to make about this attention question, and it relates more directly to teaching. He claims that "If a boy is allowed to maintain the attitude of inattention, nothing can prevent him from becoming inattentive." If we allow children to act bored, they'll be bored. And what do you do about that?
"In every case attention owes its direction to the emotional states that accompany mental action; in other words, attention follows interest....[but] Interest depends upon the apperception masses that can be brought into relation with the given object. Attention cannot create masses, it can only give masses a chance to rise into consciousness."So if he knows nothing whatsoever about the subject, he'll be bored; as was said in an earlier chapter, the piece of information will quickly drop out of his consciousness. But if he is given a reason to be interested, if it connects with something he already knows, then he'll pay attention without having to be either forced or deliberately entertained. I read through this entire book about Herbartian psychology without having to be forced to do it and without falling asleep (coffee helped), because even the duller parts connected closely with something I already knew something about and had an interest in. I had a real reason for working through it. (The amusing bits like giving Fagin a teaching award were just a bonus.)
"Teachers are fond of talking about creating an interest; but this labour at least is spared them. They have not to create but only to direct interest."And one especially for my friend Karen:
"Now we find in wood a delightfully abundant source of carbon [which our bodies need]. Why, then, is there no run upon shavings during a time of famine? Why does sawdust not keep down the price of porridge?...The body insists upon having [its carbon] in decent oatmeal, and other legitimate forms. So with ideas."Adams ends the chapter, and the book, by noticing that "if we have drifted somewhat from Herbart, we have drawn nearer to Froebel. That the two opposing systems should tend to meet on common ground is no more than one acquainted with the movement of the Hegelian dialectic would expect." Hegel aside, (and Adams says that that's exactly where practically-minded teachers should put him), it seems to me that the same could be said about Herbart, at least in Adams' interpretation, and Charlotte Mason. They may not agree on all points, but it seems that there is more common ground than we once thought.
"The theory of interest does not propose to banish drudgery, but only to make drudgery tolerable by giving it a meaning. We have seen that what is interesting is by no means necessarily pleasant; but it is something that impels us to exertion....the principle of interest braces [the student] up to endure all manner of drudgery and hard work." ~~ Sir John Adams, The Herbartian Psychology Applied to Education.
"It is true that in Reid's comfortable dogmatism we are assured that we perceive the outer world exactly as it is, and therefore we all perceive it alike. But Locke admits that the outer world may be modified in certain aspects,--colour, smell, sound, taste,--but in other more fundamental respects remain unchanged. According to this view, man is the measure of colours, smells, sounds and tastes..."In other words, the size and shape of something may be fairly fixed and common to almost everyone; but on the other aspects, you're on your own. Referring back to his perception games in Chapter Six, Adams says, "Even a simple straight line may mean something slightly different to each new observer, and the greater the number of lines in a drawing, the greater the range within which its interpretation by different observers may vary." However, "when two persons are talking about the drawing that lies before them, there is at least something to go upon, there is a sort of least common denominator of thought, to which all the ideas of each party must be reduced before agreement can be expected." "The fact is that while our mental impressions of a given object are continually changing, they always correspond with each other, and to the given reality."
"Jokes must not be judged by their power to raise a laugh. There are jokes that insist upon our laughing; others are content with a chuckle; some are satisfied with a mere gleam of intelligence. This last class includes those cases in which an idea does not belong to a system in which it is found, but which might belong to that system. There is nothing incongruous between the idea and its new environment, except the fact that this is its first appearance there." ~~ Sir John Adams, The Herbartian Psychology Applied to Education
"First he reads it over, picking out all the words or idioms that he knows. Each known word or phrase or reference is a centre round which ideas gather. The second step is to make some sort of hypothesis as to the general meaning of the whole passage--a description, a speech, an argument, or what-not. This hypothesis must be such as to fit into all the known words, and must fix the tone of the whole. The third process consists in working backwards from this hypothesis...just as Holmes' proceedings after a case is once started are merely a hunt for verifications."Adams talks about different "systems" being in operation in any situation, and the confusion that happens when I'm talking about one system and you're talking about another. It's the stuff of classic comedy, as old as the "Grouse in the Gunroom" story, which draws its humour from a confusion of names and is possibly the great-great-grandfather of the Fawlty Towers episode about "putting Basil in the ratatouille." It works in My Cousin Vinny as Vinny, who's never actually tried a case before, has to figure out several unfamiliar systems at once: the courtroom demeanor the judge expects, the rules about what the prosecutor can or can't reveal ahead of time, and what seems at times to be almost a foreign culture.
"It seems eminently sensible, not to say humane, to save children as much labour as possible. But it is necessary for parents and teachers alike to remember that children are not sent to school to be saved trouble, but to be taught how to take trouble. Taking pains is one of the main things to be learnt at school."But school museums don't bother Adams so much as teachers who are "forever preparing [a] little list of specific gravities, or genders, or constitutional changes, or words sounding the same but spelled differently. These are all little arks, each with its more or less choice selection of animals which can be thus more quickly known than they could be had the pupil to find them out for himself in their natural place." This is a wonderful image, and it can apply to so many not-so-good educational tools: reading textbooks full of facts, dates, and vocabulary lists, for example, instead of allowing that content to appear in the natural context of "many living books."
"For Isaac has not been left without successors who have marched with the times. The short cut to knowledge is not the menagerie or the museum. The Ark of Arks in education is the dictionary."Dictionaries are bad? Doesn't every schoolroom need a dictionary? Yes, says Adams, but (pay attention!) "we must work up to the Ark, not down from it. We must go to the dictionary to find the meaning of words we have actually met; we must not go to it as to an armoury of words where we may choose what is best suited to our purpose." "The dictionary meaning may be compared to the skeleton of the full meaning; something fixed and definite, to which person who uses it adds his own special flesh and blood."
"May we not, without putting an undue strain upon the words, say that education consists in the making of dictionaries?...The pupil must first learn to use his own private internal dictionary, and then learn to compare and correct it with the standard dictionary."So a lifetime of learning, in a way, is about making our own mental dictionaries. Or encyclopedias, if you like. As adults, when we want to learn things, we wander. We poke around, we discover, we ask questions, we read, and then we add, line on line. Teachers must also allow students the privilege of wandering, of trouble, of "taking pains." When we require them to learn large amounts of freeze-dried, devitalized information, it shouldn't surprise us at all when they either resist altogether, or obediently try to learn the words without understanding the meaning. There is a right time for "arks," for charts and lists, even (I am sure of it!) for pre-printed timelines! There is definitely a time for seeing how things fit together. But we can't start there. Arks are our ending point, not our beginning.
"The observationist educationist...wants the pupil to observe everything. He writes books like that tiresome 'Eyes and No Eyes.' He tells us of one-eyed dervishes who see more with their one eye than most of the rest of the world do with two....he points to the marvellous deeds of Sherlock Holmes."
"The pupil is supposed to go along with all his senses on the alert. He is to observe the note of the skylark, the scent of the violets, the form of the clouds, the colour of the primroses, the smoothness of the grass, the springiness of the turf. he is to amble along with all the Five Gateways of knowledge wide open, and we know that the mouth is one of them."So what's wrong with taking children outdoors to take it all in? The Herbartian answers:
"Interest and knowledge...mutually determine and react upon each other. In view of this, the teacher's first duty is to ascertain the contents of the mind of his pupils, and then to bring within their reach material specially prepared for those minds to react upon. Children can observe only what their apperception masses are prepared to act upon; to all else they are literally blind, deaf, callous."What do you think Charlotte Mason would say to that? My guess is that she might partially agree, because I don't think her intent in nature walks, or anything else of that sort, was that they should be entirely random. Of course going anywhere is more interesting if you are at least somewhat prepared, if you've been given something ahead of time to look for or look at. Think about an art gallery, Westminster Abbey, a fort, a bird sanctuary. The more real interest and information you bring with you, the more likely it is that you're going to find the visit worthwhile. Think of crowds of children being dragged through museums, with nothing more on their minds than getting a day off school. Of course it's a waste of time. (I'm not so sure about the "specially prepared" material; I think that's where CM and Herbart part company.) You can stare at the night sky with nothing more than the idea that it's very big and that there are a lot of stars, but how much richer your experience would be if you knew a little astronomy. You start to form a relationship with what's out there, make "sense of those first-born affinities."
"To cultivate observation, then, is not to train the eye, the ear, the hand, to extreme sensitiveness, but rather to work up well-organized knowledge within the mind itself. If we desire minute observation in a definite direction, we must cultivate special knowledge to correspond. If we wish to encourage general observation, we can only succeed by cultivating wide interests. The reciprocal interaction of interest and knowledge in relation to external facts, is what ought truly to be called observation."How that well-organized knowledge gets into the mind is another issue, but the point that you have to know something in order to see something or to learn something is well made.
"We can understand the relation in Lewis between his literary, cultured work and his religious faith more clearly if we look at some details of his conversion to Christianity. We will ask, what was his conversion, and in particular, what was it not? First of all, it would not be appropriate to say, in a phrase one often hears, that Lewis 'accepted Christ into his life....' For him it is essential that the Christian not think of belief as a way of bringing something into his or her life, but, rather, as a way of being brought out into a larger world or sense of the world....The direction of conversion for Lewis is very much the opposite, of moving outward into something larger and more important than the self." ~~ Wesley A. Kort, C.S. Lewis Then and Now (page 22)