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spelling and knowledge

Karen Allendoerfer ravena at cco.caltech.edu
Mon Nov 17 18:36:52 EST 1997

In article <290A114784 at bio.tamu.edu>,
Julia Frugoli <JFRUGOLI at BIO.TAMU.EDU> wrote:
>Maybe this is really off-topic, but the tone of all the posts about 
>learning has brought this to my mind.  I've been influenced quite a bit 
>by the book "The Teenage Liberation Handbook:How to quit school and get 
>a real education" (author has slipped my mind, but if anyone's 
>interested I'll look). 

I don't think it's off-topic at all; I can't remember the author's name
right off, either, but I think I heard her interviewed on NPR, and I
think she was the teacher played by Michelle Pfeiffer in "Dangerous
Minds" (not accurately--don't judge her by the movie!).  

 My children introduced me to the book, the year 
>the two  oldest dropped out of high school to self-school. Now that they 
>both are safely on academic scholarships at the colleges of their 
>choice, in computer programming and environmental engineering, I can 
>safely say that it was the best thing they ever did and if the youngest, 
>who's still in high school, wants to do it also, I'm all for it.

Wow, congratulations!  They are fortunate to have a mother as understanding
as you . . . I can only imagine the roof that some parents would hit . . . 
It's a real credit to them what they were able to accomplish.

 This was the point of the  book-from elementary school we 
>train our children to learn for a reward-a star, an A, a scholarship-and 
>not because of the intrinsic  value of knowledge. 

That's what I was trying to get at when I was talking about "learning as
contest" as something to be avoided, but I think you say it a lot
better, here.

Do you think that even when faced with a bunch of students who have been
trained to "learn for reward," there's hope for transcending that mindset?
How would you structure a course so that it wasn't like that, but still 
fit the college or university's requirements?


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