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ILLA Blogs - Amusing Children?

Amusing Children?

In her 1953 survey and critique of Canadian progressive education entitled So Little for the Mind, Hilda Neatby wrote (in a style that might seem tongue-in-cheek):

"The crowning virtue of the modern school, the secret of all its success is that the children do what they want to do, or they want to do what they are doing. 'They have such a good time.' In music, they learn no theory: it is such hard work. They play on a tonette by numbers.

"In art, the object of the programme from Grade I to VIII is 'to give the child confidence in his own ability and to instill a sense of achievement and satisfaction in what he is doing,' an art supervisor is reported as saying.And, in answer to the natural inquiry about the child with little or no ability, 'I have never seen a child's picture yet that hasn't something good in it.' As the child alone knows what he means, 'he is right in the way he draws it' and he gets a sense of continued achievement, a feeling of 'I am really good.'

"But should it be a 'major aim' of the school either to amuse the children or to make them feel that they are 'really good'? Would it not be better to avoid complacency as well as frustration by providiing healthy and vigorous occupations for the mind?" (pp 203-204).

Motivate . . . or Enliven?
The Grammar of Our Civility


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Tuesday, 22 September 2020

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