|Dappled autumn light on our porch and the perfect green table my girls found by the side of the road!|
What interesting and thoughtful comments many of you left on the previous post, "Borrowed Views - Charlotte Mason on Critical Thinking". Miss Mason put much confidence in the student's mind and its abilities to figure things out - much more confidence than modern education and most methods around today do. Whether you read what she said to mean critical analysis, literary criticism, worldview studies, or even the ever-present critical-thinking skills exercises - the principles still apply.
Here's what she said was needed in order for the mind to do this work on its own:
- the mind needs to be thoroughly furnished with ideas which it then compares and examines critically
- the process needs to be a slow, sure process of assimilating ideas
- the teacher needs to lay the proper and abundant feast
- the student must receive with attention and then fix by narration
It begins with years and years of narrating. It's during that exercise of the mind that those critical-thinking skills are developed. Read what she says happens during narration -
Here we get the mind forces which must act continuously in education - attention, assimilation narration, retention, reproduction. But what of reason, judgment, imagination, discrimination all the corps of 'faculties' in whose behoof the teacher has hitherto laboured? These take care of themselves and play as naturally and involuntarily upon the knowledge we receive with attention and fix by narration as do the digestive organs upon duly masticated food-stuff for the body. We must feed the mind as the body fitly and freely; and the less we meddle with the digestive processes in the one as in the other the more healthy the life we shall sustain. It is an infinitely great thing, that mind of man, present in completeness and power in even the dullest of our pupils. 6.259
Dear Charlotte and her food analogies.
We strive to nurture students who are caring, intelligent, magnanimous, and humble. Too often I am around students (adults included) who have the right, albeit predigested answer - not what Mason was espousing. I am reminded of this quote by Mason, "We should prefer that they should never say that they have learned botany or conchology, geology or astronomy The question is not, - how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education - but how much does he care? and about how many orders of things does he care?" 3.171
From joy to joy,