Saturday, June 24, 2006

Well, here it is, Saturday morning. And it looks as though it will be a very nice day.

I'm not sure if I told you why I'm and angry grandpa. If so, forgive me, but I thought I should make that clear.

I have several grandchildren, and a few greats. I have lived in this country for 81 years, and it has changed. Some has been for the better, but the overall direction this country has been taking, especially in the past 6 years, bothers me no end.

I grew up thinking that I was free to express my thoughts without fear of someone hauling me off to jail. I thought I could go where I liked, do what I liked, etc. so long as it didn't hurt any one, or interfere with their rights.

I spent 30 plus years in the classroom, teaching history, government, sociology and psychology, trying to instill in my students a love of learning, respect for themselves, and respect for others.

I stressed the atmosphere of free inquiry and free expression as being what made this country what it is.

Now we have the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance, suspicion and fear of government as an intrusive element of the atmosphere.

The "war" on terror is projected to go on for many years, permitting the government to continually raise fear of attack, excessive expenditure, increasing intrusion into the private world of citizens. I cannot avoid the thought that it begins to sound like 1984. I know that that world projected by George Orwell is horrible, totalitarian, and absolutely counter to what this nation has always stood for. Yet isn't it fairly obvious where the current trend can lead to?

I'm afraid for my children and grandchildren, and for all others younger than I, who will have to live in this country, and world.

Add to all of this the obvious results of human misuse of the natural world - global warming, with it's inevitable results. What has man wrought?

I'm sure there are many who do not have my pessimistic viewpoint, and I would welcome comments that would give me more positive reassurance.

Now I'll add some more thoughts on teaching and learning.



INTERLUDE III

The focal point of all so far -
To teach - the teacher - who is
To combine, facilitate, instruct,
Discipline, analyze, direct - to
Deal with the puzzles, open the boxes
(Always within the box, of course).
A puzzle himself (or herself) within
A box, and neatly labelled.
Restrained, defined, structured and
roled, status-important - part of
The System. A system lacking
Imagination or creativity - lock-
Step to the clock, Carnegie Unit
And seat-time. An industrial
Model of production even as the
Production system has moved on.

The Nineteenth Century dealing
With Twenty First Century needs -
Read Toffler, for goodness sake,
Instead of always calling up the
"Good old days" that never were,
And cannot serve. And Rogers, and
Buscaglia, Lair, and the host of others
Who at least look forward from today.

TEACH

"To teach" - a verb that means - what?
To impart? To give information, or
Knowledge, or wisdom, or skill - to another?
To be learned sufficiently to have
Mastered the arcane mysteries of some
Subject? To know the right words?

To teach - to discipline - to penalize;
To create a hierarchy, from failure
To excellence; to make the system work?
Correct response, proper spelling,
Dates in right order - are these the
Stuff of which we truly teach?

Can anyone teach anyone anything?
Can I, by my efforts, cause you to
Know one slightest thing more; to
Understand; to be wise? If I
Have knowledge, skill, understanding
And wisdom, can I teach it to you?
NO!

What, then, can I do - you do - who are
Called teacher? We can know, and
Show our knowing; can understand
And be ourselves understanding;
Can be wise, and in our wisdom

Take care to love - ourselves, our
Truths, and those with whom we share our wisdom -
All and any who wish to learn.

We can live that which we are,
And know to be good - quietly
And patiently. For to teach is
To model - daily living our own
Search for Truth, Beauty, Wisdom,
In such ways as to entice others to follow.

Facilitate, a sometime substitute
For teach, yet still insistent,
Demanding, assuming more than
Learning; too often management
And efficiency and order are what's meant.
And learning's left behind.

And teaching as judgement on a score-
Card leaves little room for ought
But fear. And fear? Now, there's the
Greatest motivator, is it not?
So teaching must mean inducing fear?
Oh, no - of course not! Oh?
When - under what circumstances - did
You best truly learn? How were
You taught? By whom? Consider.
To teach? we must come now to
Think of learning, for that is
The avowed purpose, is it not?

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up thinking that I was free to express my thoughts without fear of someone hauling me off to jail. I thought I could go where I liked, do what I liked, etc. so long as it didn't hurt any one, or interfere with their rights.

[...]

Now we have the Patriot Act, domestic surveillance, suspicion and fear of government as an intrusive element of the atmosphere.


Based on your comments, it seems that you fear being jailed under the Patriot Act for expressing your thoughts. However, is this fear realistic? I'm not aware of anyone being jailed (or even indicted) under the Patriot Act for expressing his thoughts. Could you provide some examples in which this has happened? Thanks!

1:32 PM

 
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