Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Education is all about Unity in Relationships

Two great thinkers separated by 120 years of an outmoded school structure that today more than ever serves primarily to interfere with the fundamental law of education -- unity in relationships between teacher and student.
Teacher and pupil, in co-operative touch to the end for which the school exists, of themselves constitute the school.... A clock and a blackboard may be parts of the school machinery; but the teaching process can go on without them, and the school is not destroyed by their removal.
 A right act in school is one which secures, or tends to secure, unity between the mind of the teacher and the pupil in the teaching process; while a wrong act is one which destroys, or tends to destroy, such unity.
... for the school is the organic unity between the teacher and the pupil. 
Prof. Arnold Tompkins. The Philosophy of School Management. Ginn & Co. Boston, MA, 1895. pp. 15-33 (emphasis added)

Now spring ahead 120 years.

"Theater" is the whole relationship between the audience and the drama. For theater to have its most transformative effects, it's essential to focus on that relationship and make it as powerful as possible. Nothing should be added ... unless it deepens it.
For me, the analogy with education is exact ... The fundamental purpose of education is to help students learn. Doing that is the role of the teacher. But modern education systems are cluttered with every sort of distraction ... But the heart of education is the relationship between the student and the teacher. Everything else depends on how productive and successful that relationship is. If that is not working, then the system is not working. If students are not learning, education is not happening. Something else may be going on, but it's not education.
Ken Robinson, Ph.D. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution that's Transforming Education. Viking. New York, NY, 2015. pp. 71-72 (emphasis added)

Unfortunately, much of the trappings of so-called modern education reform is simply "stuff" that detract from the real law of education and appear bent on destroying teacher-pupil unity. We haven't learned much over the last twelve decades.