I have recently completed my first full reading of David Hick’s work, Norms and Nobility. I have read at it prior to this reading, I just never actually read it fully. I still don’t pretend to get it, but I did get through it, and that is no mean accomplishment. I will more fully blog out my thoughts, but for now, let me simply sing it’s praise.
Hicks has set forth a vision for a school that in the theoretical level I love, I just don’t know if it can actually work. I am not a pragmatist, I just am not as much of an idealist as DH. That students would flourish in such a school is a safe bet. An assured one at that. That he has had trouble even getting it realized at his actual school of influence, The Darlington School in Georgia, is indicative that if he can’t make it happen, then who am I to try? But then, is that not the tyrannizing image that he was shooting for.
Perhaps the best way to describe the book then is so “high” as to bring anyone who reads up a notch regardless of their current strata. He certainly is not writing so much a diatribe, though there are the inevitable comparisions to the current modes of schooling, but rather he seems to simply be imagining in the very best sense the best that could be if school were able to be perfect.
I think he comes very close in balancing rigor with joy. I don’t know how that looks, because I have never seen it. But I now, having read DH’s work, want more than ever to see it even for a moment before I die. What does it mean to build a learner who loves learning enough to rejoice in the difficult task of actually learning?
David, I raise a glass to you, and hope that sometime in the future I can do more than merely babble incoherent praise.