Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Firm a Foundation

By Jennifer Spenser
June 11, 2009
CLUSA Conference-Gardner-Webb University

  • Schools buy into expensive programs and implement passing fads rather than invest in the foundational ideas that undergird methods of teaching.
  • Methods alone do not make a school a Mason school; this produces shallow results
  • No information should be given without an informing idea

    A Look at Various Educational Models Used Throughout History

Classical Model

  • Views learner as blank slate
  • Knowledge derived from experience
  • Three stages of learning: Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric
  • Building from the bottom up
  • Heavy Memorization of facts
  • Teacher is the giver of knowledge
  • Classic Literature, Language, Recitation, studies isolated from life
  • Chronological study of history
  • Mason did not subscribe to the Tabula-Rasa method
  • Many poor children left behind
  • Pre-Industrial revolution options for poor child: farming or tradesman

Industrial Revolution/Apprenticeship Model

  • Factory owners recruited whole families, trained skilled laborers
  • Began school run by the industry
  • 1911 Frederick Taylor wrote Principles of Management; encouraged industry to monitor workers’ time not related to work
  • Industry gets involved in Education; propaganda campaign to convince citizens that vocational training is good for America.
  • Similar to German Model which placed education under the auspices of the Department of Commerce & Labor.
  • Three types of learners: Cultural, Industrial, Factory
  • Education is for social engineering
  • Teachers are public servants; present ideas of controlling majority
  • Principles of Industrial Education:
    § Education for training for trade/vocation
    § Children are raw material
    § Schools are like factory plants
    § Architecture of school building mimics factory, ie., classroom designed to look like shop floor
    § Middle school years explore possible vocations
    § Test for aptitude, “probable destiny”
    § Student placed into appropriate “tier”
    § Utilitarian methods: Standardized tests, textbooks, strict schedule
    § CM believed this type of education to be immoral

Humanitarian Progressivism

  • Shifting Sand
  • Against industry slavery of children, adults
  • Persons above profit
  • Wanted reform of industrial educational model
  • Education is equalizer of opportunity
  • John Dewey:
    § Science has potential to improve or debase society
    § Dominant vocation of humans is living
    § School environment:
  • Free play
  • Hands on
  • Democratic atmosphere
  • Integrated curriculum
  • Emulate real life
  • Loop learning
  • Balance of Liberal Arts & Vocational studies
  • Free of authoritarianism
    § Education is intelligent art of shaping beliefs and desires of children
    § Education reform enough for social revolution
    § Education should have child-centered instruction
  • Learning centers
  • Unit Study
    § Mason not child centered; she did not believe humans were at the center of the universe
    § Mason: Education is an Atmosphere
    § Even very young children are capable, insulted by twaddle
    § Students should dig for relationships between subjects not teachers
    § Contrived grouping of students silly to Mason
    § Outer character change, futile; only inner change produces real, lasting change

Mason’s Foundation

  • After viewing “Triumph of St. Thomas Acquanis & the Allegory of the Sciences" by Andrea Da Firenze 1344-1377, Mason came to the impelling,underlying conclusion: All Knowledge is derived from God through the Holy Spirit.
  • By studying Living Things, we learn that God is life
  • Study of Math, God is form, order
  • Study of Arts, God is beautiful
  • Study of Languages, God communicates
  • Study of History, we learn of the evolution of the relationship between God and man.
  • Teacher spreads a feast of ideas before the learner
  • Teacher allows student to ingest, digest what is proper for him
  • Trinity of education, Knowledge of God, Knowledge of Man, Knowledge of the Universe
  • Of God: Bible, character
  • Of man: Humanities, Arts
  • Universe: Science, math
  • History is the pivot of a CM education
  • Literature & Languages, Math & Science, Arts, Bible & Character extend from History studies
  • All learning comes from Holy Spirit
  • Mason approach connects learning: careful observations leads to relation to prior knowledge leads to assimilation of new knowledge leads to expression of knowledge leads to (?slide changed before I got it)
  • Trivium, Grades, Behaviorism, Isolated Skills not needed in Mason method

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