Monday, March 02, 2015

On students as fledglings

I recently reread C. S. Lewis' Abolition of Man (or more exactly, listened to the audio version of this, which I had previously read.) I always marvel at Lewis' logic, laugh at his wit, and ponder the truth he shares. The whole "men-without-chests" metaphor here has long been a favorite with me to describe the results of progressive or modern education.

What really struck me and left me pondering this time, however, was what he said about good teaching prior to progressivism.  He describes this teaching as flowing seamlessly out of a philosophical and moral ethos that was unskeptical of the notion that there was, indeed, right and wrong, good and bad, a moral wisdom to be preserved.  He contrasts this type of teacher with the progressive teacher when he says:

They did not cut men to some pattern they had chosen. They handed on what they had received: they initiated  the young neophyte into the mystery of humanity which over-arched him and them alike. It was but old birds teaching young birds to fly.
~C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, part 3

What a great definition of teaching:  A good teacher takes the fledglings under her care and does nothing more than prepare them and kick them out of their comfortable place. It implies a transmission of humility before God and a teachable spirit that must be modeled, and is at the heart of all real and true education.

A good teacher fledges her charges. I like that.

1 comment:

Debs Francisco said...

I love this.