I am going to do my best to relate these things as I can, but I must confess my mind, though obtaining more clarity on CCE than it has ever had before, is finding it tougher to relate these to other people, because of the ideas are so new to me. But let me try…
We began our second morning by seeking to discuss the relationship of “knowing” to “learning.” How do we know things? We discussed four modes of learning: induction (drawing out general ideas from specific things); deduction (learning through propositions, if—then); rhetoric – being persuaded through the emotions; and poetic – intuitive knowledge, knowledge of the whole as a whole
This last mode seemed the most neglected, so we in particular wished to develop it further so as to recover its use in education.
We basically made a chart that I cannot reproduce effectively through blogger, so I will do my best:
We noted that the ultimate goal of our education was to bring a student to a deeper (life long pursuit of) relationship with Christ as Incarnate Truth. Every student already has begun from birth learning poetically, by experience and observation, with his imagination and intuition, a conceptualization of Who God Is. Our task is to use the poetic mode better by training it to see God as He is revealed in His Theater of Glory, His creation. It is cyclical, because it is not enough to simply see Christ, but to then live in the Theater according to that knowledge, that vision.
The Person of God:
bringing the student to know Truth in the Person of Christ (through the lens of Truth, Goodness, Beauty)
The Pre-verbal Knowledge of a Student:
His experiences, senses, imagination, etc.
The Theater of Glory:
the revealed glory of God in His creation
Of course all this theory from the first day and a half had us all asking, “So what does this look like in the classroom? What does this imply about my teaching?” That is where we ended our day by discussing dozens of implications for our teaching, some of which include…
…a more active student, who is able to touch, see, feel, smell, in short sense the truths we are trying to teach.
…a great deal of contemplative preparation on the part of the teacher to determine what topics, ideas, forms, etc. are necessary to the lesson being taught.
…time to think in the classroom. The less we fall prey to the common error of the “classroom as factory” mentality, where we are pressuring our students daily toward retirement (you have to get an “A” so you can get into a great college, get a great job, and thus afford to retire and enjoy a few years before you die) the more we will see that we need time to think about ideas and knowledge and God enough to become who we ought to be, rather than simply being able to pass a test and move on.
…a change in our paradigm and thinking so as to first, as teachers, to think in a more poetic form (not dismissing the other modes, but recovering this lost one), before we are able to embody it in our students.
…there is not a formula for this, it is a mindset, a way of thinking, that is transferred from teacher to student.
Now don’t think for a moment that I have done more than teased you with all the great discussion. How I long to see this embodied in not just CCS (our school) but in all schools worthy of the name. That is the challenge – to bring this to fruition, off the table of theory and onto the floor of real life.