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robertogreco : lucan   1

Robbie McClintock in the Reflective Commons
"In this temper, one last hypothesis: in making the case for study, one does not denigrate the teacher's profession. To be sure, one has to speak out against exaggerating the power of instruction. But this criticism does not reject teaching; in place of a rejection, it is a quest for the mean, a celebration of the Greek sense for nothing too much, an attempt to balance an inflated version of the teacher's mission with a touch of reality. Yes—let us continue our effort to teach all as best we can, but let us do so with more humility, sobriety, and realism.

Instruction does not make the man. A teacher gains coercive power to control and mold his students only so long as they abdicate their autonomy and dignity. Such an abdication is not a good foundation for an educational system, especially since it is less common and continuous than many would seem to believe. The teacher's authority, be it as a model of excellence or of folly, is a quality his students project erotically upon him. It is an attraction or repulsion that results because students are forever suspending their interest in learning their lessons; instead they abstract, they reflect; they step back mentally and with curiously cocked heads they observe their didactic deliverer, musing with soaring hope, wonder, joy, resignation, boredom, cynicism, amusement, sad tears, despair, or cold resentment—Ecce homo!

A teacher may or may not cause learning, but he will always be an object of study. Hence the pedant so surely plays the fool. But hence too, the man teaching can often occasion achievements that far surpass his personal powers. Great teachers can be found conforming to every type—they are tall and short, shaggy and trim, timid and tough, loquacious and terse, casual and stern, clear and obscure. Great teachers are persons who repay study, and they repay study because they know with Montaigne, "My trade and my art is to live.""
teaching  learning  instruction  montaigne  1971  robbiemcclintock  lucan  training  study  howwelearn  howweteach  pedagogy  erasmus  seneca  plato 
december 2017 by robertogreco

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