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spelling and knowledge

Tue Nov 18 11:14:51 EST 1997

> My children introduced me to the book, the year 
>>the two  oldest dropped out of high school to self-school. Now that 
>>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 
>>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 
>as you . . . I can only imagine the roof that some parents would hit . 

Just to clarify-I am NOT a saint.  I, too, hit the roof.  It took a year 
for the oldest to convince his parents this was a good thing. When the 
younger child turned in his books 5 days after we let the oldest "drop 
out" the grandparents thought the world was going to end  and the 
parents weren't too sure either.  Only in hindsight can I be so 

>. . 
>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 
>>not because of the intrinsic  value of knowledge. 
>That's what I was trying to get at when I was talking about "learning 
>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 
>trained to "learn for reward," there's hope for transcending that 
>How would you structure a course so that it wasn't like that, but still 
>fit the college or university's requirements?
I'm not sure-the author makes the  point that only in graduate school do 
you learn because you want to, and what you want to (though I know even 
that's not 100% true!).  Funny you should ask about a student's point of 
view-on thhe  day the newsgroup exploded with this  topic, one of my 
children sent me a "humorous" piece on "what the professor means when 
he/she says".  The  image of the professor in this piece could hardly be 
called flattering, but unfortunately I found some of it funny, because 
there's a grain of truth to it.  For instance, when the professor says 
"we're going to be spending some time on this topic" he/she means "I  
did my dissertation on this".  I don't think  the  "us/them" ever goes 
away-it's like trying to be your child's best friend-it can make you a 
lousy parent.  But the best parents, and the best teachers,  still 
remember what it was like to be a child or a student, see the child or 
the  student as a person, not a thing to control, and try to bridge the 
gap as much as  possible.
Julia Frugoli
Dartmouth College

visiting grad student at
Texas A&M University
Department of Biological Sciences
College Station, TX 77843
FAX 409-847-8805

"Evil is best defined as militant ignorance."        
																										Dr. M. Scott Peck*****************************************************

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