Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: teachers

Reality, Respect, Responsibility

A modest proposal to revitalize the education system

1. Reality

Education should be geared towards teaching children how to think, not what to think. This means equipping them to be literate, numerate and articulate. Those are the fundamental skills that will enable them to learn everything else they will need to learn in life. Children should master these skills at each level before moving on to the next level. Teachers who are unable to teach these skills may be social facilitators, but they are not teachers.

Great self-esteem may help you get a job, but won’t help you do the job. Self esteem without work skills will leave you unemployed and feeling the world has let you down.

2. Respect

Twenty-five years ago a co-worker mentioned that her high school daughter had come home and said that her teacher had told the class that it would be best if they didn’t tell their parents what they had talked about in class that day, “They might not understand.” It told me a lot about that mother’s relationship with her daughter that her daughter did tell her. It also told me a lot about that teacher’s lack of respect for parents.

Children are being taught in school not to respect the values of their parents or the historic values of most of the people of our country. That does not bode well for the future of those children in the work place and in society. It does not bode well for the future of our society.

The best and most natural environment for the development of children is a home with a father and mother, preferably the same father and mother all through their growing up years. Evidence shows that children from such homes grow up emotionally healthy and stable and make more useful contributions to the society they live in. Teachers, and the whole educational establishment, need to respect the home and its values. Then parents could also respect educators.

3. Responsibility

A child should not be protected from the consequences of his or her actions. Blaming someone else will not lead to a better outcome the next time. They should know that they are accountable for their school work and their conduct.

But children are not identical peas in a pod. There are differences in learning abilities and in learning styles. Parents and teachers should try to learn what works and what does not work with each child. The child should be accountable for doing the best that he or she can.

My wife has a younger sister who never learned to speak clearly and never did well in school. The school had a speech therapist and other resource personnel, but this girl was passed on from grade to grade with only minimal attempts made to help her. Her home situation was deplorable. We lived several thousand miles away. One time when we were home on vacation my wife tried to help her sister make the sounds that she did not say distinctly. I heard her begin to enunciate them more clearly. But we were soon gone and neither the home nor the school was any help.Her adult life has been miserable. We wonder if some intensive one on one help might not have made a big difference. Why does a school have these “experts” if they are not responsible to do that?

Reality, respect, responsibility. I have only brushed the surface, but I feel that much of the malaise in our educational system is due to the neglect of these principles. And far too much emphasis on things that do nothing to prepare children for real life.

Not how it’s supposed to work

Someone once described education as a process whereby information gets from the teacher’s outline into the student’s notebook without passing through the mind of either.  -Douglas Wilson

Discovery learning

The Province of Alberta recently announced a complete transformation of their teaching methods. The new model is based on the wonderfully naive expectation that a classroom of 30 children of the same age will learn much better if the teacher is relegated to the background and not allowed to teach.

Where does this dewy-eyed credulity come from? Certainly not from any investigation into how such a classroom actually behaves. One has to wonder if the educational “experts”, having succeeded in excluding parents from the picture, are not finding too many teachers who actually want to teach some realistic values to their pupils.

Study after study has shown that children learn best from direct instruction, that the modern alternatives have resulted in a continuous decline in actual learning. The province of Quebec, for example, has resisted the move towards newer methods of teaching math. In Quebec they still teach the basics, like memorizing the times tables. The result is that Quebec students place 6th on the OECD comparison of learning outcomes, on a par with Japan.

Students from the rest of Canada are already far behind, discovery learning will put them even further behind. An article published in Educational Psychologist a few years ago, based on more than 100 studies over 50 years, stated that none of the research supported discovery learning.

Pardon my cynicism, but to me this just looks like the latest attempt of the “progressives” to seize control of our children’s minds and train them in their collectivist philosophy. I applaud all those parents who have removed their children from the abyss of public education. All the studies show that children who get their learning at home or in small private schools are far ahead in both learning and in responsible conduct.



Kids are different today

“Kids are different today,”
I hear ev’ry mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day.

For readers not familiar with music of the sixties, those words were written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards and are the beginning of a popular song by the Rolling Stones.

Why are kids different today?  Why do so many mothers need a little yellow pill?  I would suggest it is because the thinking of our society has gradually been taken over by a philosophy that is hostile to the Christian concept of the family.  Here are some examples of that philosophy.

Our men and women . . . should be forbidden by law to live together in separate households, and all the women should be common to all the men; similarly, children should be held in common, and no parent should know his child, or child its parent.    Plato, The Republic  c. 375 B.C.

In order to raise children with equality, we must take them away from families and communally raise them.    Dr. Mary Jo Bane, Assistant Professor of Education, Wellesley College (1990)

No woman should be authorized to stay home to raise her children.  Society should be totally different.  Women should not have the choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.    Simone de Beauvoir, 1952

The school should be regarded as . . . an agency for the abolition of all artificial social distinctions and [for] organizing the energies of the nation for the promotion of the general welfare. [This] applies quite as strictly to the nursery, kindergarten, and the elementary school as to the secondary school and the university. [You will say] that I am flirting with indoctrination, and my answer again is in the affirmative.    Dr. George S. Counts, 1932

That the teachers should deliberately reach for power and then make the most of their conquest is my firm conviction.  To the extent that they are permitted to fashion the curriculum and procedures of the school they will definitely and positively influence the social attitudes, ideals and behaviour of the coming generation.    Counts, ibid

The Wundtian redefinition of “education” to mean feeding experiential data to a young brain and the nervous system, rather than the teaching of mental skills, led to the abolition of the traditional role of the teacher as educator.  Its place was taken by the concept of the teacher as guide in the socialization of the child . . . Dewey called for a levelling of of individual differences into a common pool of students who are the object of learning technicians devising the social order of the future.    Paolo Lionni, 1988

(Wilhelm Wundt was a professor at Leipzig University one hundred years ago who taught that man was a biologically determined creature devoid of spirit or will.  John Dewey was an American humanist and promoter of the public schools as a means of social engineering.  He believed there was no God, no soul, thus no need for the props of religion.)

This is a sampling of the thinkers who have shaped our society and whose ideas are continuing to shape it.  All quotations are taken from The War Against the Family, copyright 1992 by William D Gairdner and published by Stoddart Publishing of Toronto.

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