I have way too many thoughts on Jamie Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom, to write them all down now and here, but I will blog for quite some time to come (probably over on my book review site, here) about those thoughts. Today I am simply marveling at how my various readings have started to coalesce in my mind: the notion of community, action, education, conversation, and the like are continuing to come together. Smith builds the thesis that we are much more lovers than thinkers and therefore what we do has as much to do with education as what we think about. The classroom must be a place where:
- Everyone is a learner. The more we lower the distance between the teacher way up here in the ivory tower, full of all knowledge and wisdom, and the learner, way down here, merely a peon, worthy only of staying busy getting the teacher’s gold nuggets into note form, the better we will be at true education.
- The actions are forming the actor into the biblical description of one who is wise and virtuous. Certainly the “worldview” must be taught, but it is not taught if the requisite actions are not caught as well. What does a classroom of humility, engagement, peace, faith, etc. look like?
- Planned spontaneity is allowed. I have been throwing these paradoxical terms around together since college. A classroom with no aim, no plan, no path, no “curriculum” is not going to succeed. But we have swallowed the hogwash that planning is about measurable outcomes only. And too many, once there is a plan, would die rather than go with the flow of thought that must accompany any good classroom. The plan become tyrant and the student closes up his mental shop. Frankly, the teacher probably loves the plan because it allows thinking to be done with prior to class time. This just cannot be called real education.
Lots of ranting, I know. My thoughts will get more organized when I sit down to actually review the book.