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Oct. 2011 - Kelli's Notes - Vol. 6, Ch. 2-3

Oct. 2011 - Kelli's Notes - Vol. 6, Ch. 2-3

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Published by: Kelli C, Grace for the Day on Aug 06, 2012
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From C.

Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education, Volume 6: A Review
Peoria Area CM Study Group monthly meeting discussions

Book I: Chapter 2: Children Are Born Persons Book I: Chapter 3: The Good and Evil Nature of a Child

October 2011

Book 1: Chapter 2, Children Are Born Persons
From the previous meeting - Synopsis notes: Children are born persons – We must always return to this point in our evaluation. Most folks, on the surface, would adamantly agree with this statement, yet our actions - our methods, must always reflect this idea. Further discussion of what this really means to come in Ch. 2, but to establish a more clear understanding to start, we want to remember Charlotte Mason’s teaching regarding children being persons. They are created in the image of God by the creator himself with a mind that needs “mind food” – the nourishment of ideas directly dealt with mind to mind. This is to say that children are not sacks to be filled or matter to be molded into what we would make them or have them be – not an object to be manipulated (When Children Love to Learn, pg. 57). The teacher is not the imparter of all knowledge (whew ) nor the interpreter of ideas for a child. Our job is to prepare the banquet table with a feast of nourishing food to present to the child - he takes as he wills and his mind will choose the ideas – NOT that he gets to choose only from the dessert buffet if he desires ).


The Mind of a Child “The consequence of truth is great, therefore the judgment of it must not be negligent.” Whichcote

From C. Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education, Volume 6: A Review
Peoria Area CM Study Group monthly meeting discussions
This entire section points to the overwhelming proofs the excellence of the child’s mind through thought, capabilities, accomplishments & natural actions. Underline the entire section “If we have not proved that a child is born a person with a mind as complete and as beautiful as his beautiful little body, we can at least show that he always has all the mind he requires for his occasions; that is, that his mind is the instrument of his education and that his education does not produce his mind.” II. The Mind of a School-Child In this section, we take up the child who is ready for lessons. The idea that the brain, as an organ, as the other parts of the body, requires proper care for health (food, rest, fresh air, wholesome exercise) but relies upon the mind for its proper activities. Much is also made of psychology – such that these things distract and the mind is ignored. We need an educational theory with “due recognition” of the mind. There are many desirable things, play, motion, environment – these are but “by-paths” that do not lead to the mind. The mind is spirit and must have ideas! Ideas must be “clothed upon with facts as they occur, and [we] must leave the child to deal with these as he chooses. III. Motives for Learning With this view of the child, as teachers, we should be humbled… what have we to offer. The old system and views of education have nothing to offer but dry, diluted ways but instead, utilize the methods that are proving out under the understanding of the high capabilities of the child.

Book 1: Chapter 3, The Good and Evil Nature of a Child
From the previous meeting - Synopsis notes: Good & bad nature… Be careful not to misinterpret the terms Miss Mason uses or the implications that might follow. C.S. Lewis, in chapter 4 of Mere Christianity, delivers what might be a very close explanation of the same idea Miss Mason is expressing here that might have some more familiar terms. Also, “And here we begin to see the reality of the child as both image-bearer and fallen creation – both exist at the same time in the life of the child from beginning to end – Gen. 8:21; Prov. 4:23; Rom. 1:18-32 (When Children Love to Learn, pg. 59).

From C. Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education, Volume 6: A Review
Peoria Area CM Study Group monthly meeting discussions
I. Well-Being of Body The idea in this first paragraph that we aren’t taught to be bad or good (on the inside) but the child, just like the adult, is born a person – of the flesh (scriptural reference to our sinfulness), yet also created in the image of God with a conscience. And the “hope set before us” as educationalists is only so when education is in its proper relation as the “handmaid of Religion”. The magnanimous & responsible change in religious thought is not necessarily referring to works based social agenda, but more of the idea of faith without works is dead. Miss Mason is suggesting that as education is necessarily religious the application of an educational renaissance would be a magnanimous education as well – applied to all areas. As educators, we can be helpful in the failings by strengthening the opposite tendency & encouraging to “take-off” or “put away” the bad & “put on” or clothe yourself with the good. She doesn’t suggest that the virtues that are cultivated replace faith that is what accredits righteousness through Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the World (see Miss Mason’s devotional book by that name). Does that make more sense with different terms used? Remember Miss Mason’s terms may be a bit unfamiliar and need to be put into the proper context & definitions. The rest of this section continues with the discussion on developing a discriminating habit for noble things & thought. II. Well-Being of Mind When we neglect intellect, how can we develop that discriminating habit? “The mind is a chartered libertine” and we must not allow it to be untrained and think as we please. Neglect of the intellect has stultifying consequences. We must use the natural desire for knowledge and capitalize on the sense of wonder to vivify the lessons. “We may not point to the moral; that is the work proper for children themselves and they do it without fail.” Here she refers to Plutarch and lessons of citizenship. Narrations are a part of the well being of the mind. We must not underestimate them and leave them to deal directly with ideas. The more the teacher works (instead of the student) the less able the students become and the more other incentives are used like grades and scholarship exams. Also the more “talky-talky” (think lecture style or endless explanations) the teacher, the more lifeless the student. Underline talky-talky. Also, endless review is as equally boring and mind numbing , “continual progress is the law of intellectual life”. Another means we teachers employ that hinder growth of the mind is ‘the questionnaire’ (comprehension questions in modern terms). There is quite a comparison with the digestion of food which we don’t ask children to produce for inspection at regular intervals… quite disruptive to the digestive system.

From C. Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education, Volume 6: A Review
Peoria Area CM Study Group monthly meeting discussions
One more point on the well-being of the mind. Reason must be trained. It is necessary that students must recognize logical fallacies and “above all, to know that a man’s reason is his servant and not his master”. The safeguard is a “liberal education which affords a wide field for reflection and comparison and abundant data upon which to found sound judgments. III. Intellectual Appetite Though it is our business to utilize the natural desires of the student – this must be done carefully and respectfully. We are limited in our use or it is misuse. More in chapter 5. IV. Misdirected Affections When considering body and mind, we must remember that ‘feelings’ are part of that spiritual entity – mind. Specifically Love & Justice with all that falls under these. This “endowment of the moral nature” is not to be used by the teacher for himself or with praise as the motive “to do the right thing”. Moral education must be a self education. Our part is to consider carefully what is offered up. In this way, for example, we can help to prepare “men to distinguish between their rights and their duties”. “To think fairly requires knowledge as well as consideration.” “Our opinions show our integrity of thought.” “For what, after all, are principles but those motives of first importance which govern us, move us in thought and action?” All of these follow one another and are about our worldview. V. The Well-Being of the Soul Our basis of reality – our worldview – is found in scripture. The well being of our soul is only satisfied in God. Knowledge of God and His truth is what illuminates all. There is much that builds character, but the more formative influence is knowledge. Whatever philosophical terms or common terms you use, “body and soul, body and mind, body, soul and spirit” – together, these represent ideas that must be the basis of our educational thought. Thus we have Miss Mason’s Philosophy of Education.

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