Poetic Knowledge: Education and Emotion


This is my own rabbit trail post for thePoetic Knowledge Book Club.

Education and Emotion

The second-to-last paragraph of chapter 1 struck me more than anything else in this chapter:

Given that the scientific idea of education is a mechanical model that manifests itself in some form of the “drill and kill” system, and given, in contrast, that the human being is not a machine and has not, for centuries, responded to learning by such methods, the conflict produced by the imposition of the scientific idea of learning will also have its negative effect on the emotional life of the learner. “We don’t just learn about something,” Smith says, “we simultaneously learn how we feel as we learn.” It is in this way that we hear more and more that young students have come to “hate” math or English, or, slightly worse, that it is all “boring.”

A connection between this paragraph and Charlotte Mason also struck me. Miss Mason says, “The question is not how much he knows, but how much he cares.”

I struggle most with this concept, actually. I can grudgingly concede the point, but what rankles me is that while I can make a student write a paper or do a math page, I can’t make a child care about writing or like math. I am more comfortable as the drill sergeant than as the touchy-feely, “let’s talk about how you feel” and “let’s have a good time together” companion. Now, actually, I don’t think either of those options are the right or the good, but I tend to see the matter in such either/or terms.

What does the middle line between drill sergeant and psychotherapist look like?