Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Marva Collins and a war of words

An early scene in the 1981 film "The Marva Collins Story" shows various classes in a large inner-city school.  Teachers and students are struggling over behaviour issues and little is getting done.  In Marva's class, a girl is reciting the funeral oration from Julius Caesar, and Marva (played by Cicely Tyson) reminds the class that they must not allow themselves to be swayed by rhetoric or pushed around by others' words, but that they should think for themselves.  Suddenly a fire alarm rings (something that is later said to be a regular interruption).  Marva tells her class to stay seated, and goes out into the hall; kids are pouring down the stairs and there's a teacher screaming at the boy who pulled the fire alarm.  She goes back to her class and says that if the children want to go outside they can, but that since it was obviously a false alarm, she is just going to get back to work because she has a "lot of teaching to do."

Thus illustrating the lesson louder than any fire bell.

Has anyone asked the real Marva what she thinks about the Common Curriculum guidelines, as described recently on the Common Room?  They shouldn't have to wonder.

And at least one academic would agree with her:
"The University of Arkansas’ Sandra Stotsky argues that an emphasis on informational texts actually prevents children from acquiring “a rich understanding and use of the English language” and “may lead to a decreased capacity for analytical thinking.” Dry government documents such as those recommended in the Common Core’s are “hardly the kind of material to exhibit ambiguity, subtlety, and irony,” she observes."--Why all the cool kids are reading Executive Order 13423, by Lindsey M. Burke, December 27, 2012, FoxNews.com
As for the homeschoolers--are you going to let yourselves be pushed around by a little old fire alarm?  (Said with a Marva Collins inflection.) Back to work, there's a lot of teaching to do.

Linked from the Carnival of Homeschooling at NerdFamily Blog.

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