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“What It Is To Learn”

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Kathryn Walker writes about her teaching and John Henry Newman’s influence upon it.

Her students are blessed to have a young teacher so enthusiastic about engaging them.  Here’s a one paragraph summary of the problem she faces:

All seemed well, noble, and good until Commencement ended and I was hurled into real life as a teacher myself. My modern, nonclassical classroom has put my youthful idealism to the test. How can I disagree with my colleagues-and Mr. Locke-who advise that “children’s time should be spent in acquiring what might be useful to them, when they come to be men, rather than that their heads should be stuffed with a deal of trash”? Useful = produces high SAT scores. Useful = will get them into the college of their choice. Useful = contributes to their success in the military, or their father’s business, or their entrepreneurial career goal. Few parents or administrators are seeking Newman’s idealistic “formation of the intellect” that will equip children to move beyond the limits of a particular profession.

Read the whole thing, and pray that many more Mrs. Walkers enter the field.


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