Friday, January 11, 2013

Quiet - What Wendell Says, And Thoughts About Classrooms

Shun electric wire.
Communicate slowly. Live
A three-dimensioned life;
Stay away from screens.
~ from How To Be a Poet

We're wireless, Mr Berry, but I take your point. How to live your point is the question for me.


I spent three hours yesterday in a classroom and I loved it. The local library was running a poetry workshop, which had the advantages of being free, close to home and run by a friend.

When I walked into the room it was set up with desks in rows. I slid into the middle row, off to the left. Arranged a notebook and a pencil on the desk, smiled at the girl next to me. Felt amazed at my sense of well-being.

For three hours I did as asked. Listened, read, wrote, collaborated. Still felt good.

Thought about it on the quiet walk home. You see, I'm a classroom hater. Even at university I felt confined by the rooms, the arrangements of desks, the relationship between teacher and student, the sense of compulsion about attendance, participation.

Now, a mere eighteen years after leaving the classroom, I think I've finally deschooled.  Finally feel open to being taught, to taking my place behind that desk. To learning.

When I have my moments of doubt about a home education, I'm going to remember this. Whatever else they find themselves dealing with, my three children will never have to take decades to process the experience of an institutional education.

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