Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc.
vol. I no. 3
First published in 1972. Reprinted in 2009. Copyright ÂŠ 1972-2009 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. Author: Caleb Gattegno All rights reserved ISBN 978-0-87825-262-6 Educational Solutions Worldwide Inc. 2nd Floor 99 University Place, New York, N.Y. 10003-4555 www.EducationalSolutions.com
We are beginning this issue of the newsletter with news. The largest item, if not the most important, is that sometime in June we will take possession of our new premises at the corner of Fifth Avenue and l4th Street (80 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10011). We have the whole of the l4th floor, covering eight thousand square feet, with facilities for many activities to be carried on simultaneously. For the time being we will keep the 8th floor rooms at the same address and the 821 Broadway space which we have occupied for six years. This news means that we are growing. Our school projects division keeps busy most of our field staff which is going to be increased in three ways: new staff will be joining us, part time staff becoming full time, and three of our former colleagues will return. At the same time we are losing some staff members, mainly because they are taking jobs overseas but continuing the same type of work. The growth of our school projects division is proving that we can solve educational problems to the satisfaction of parents and school boards, and, we must add, to the satisfaction of the students and teachers now considered as learners.
Table of Contents
Forum .................................................................................. 3 1 .......................................................................................................... 3 2 ......................................................................................................... 7 3 ......................................................................................................... 9 On Being A Consultant (At Rafael Hernande) ...................... 11 From Action. . . ................................................................... 13 Action In Ohio ....................................................................15 Elimination Of Illiteracy At C.S. 129.....................................17 ‘My Life And My Work’ - Humanization Of Careers ............ 21
We are opening four new divisions at headquarters. One will be concerned with mathematical education in and out of school (mainly through TV, for adults). By next fall, we will be offering a new concept of a mathematical lab. Professor David H. Wheeler is coming to us from the University of Leicester to become director of this division. Another division will promote the “Rainbow English,” an adaptation of Words in Color for the home, and “The Algebricks for the Home,” designed to teach mathematics through a number of thorough and enjoyable games. Since both Words in Color and Algebricks are becoming widely acknowledged as the most effective ways of presenting reading and mathematics through subordination of teaching to learning, this division will provide parents with the help which their children have not yet been able to find in their schools. The third division has the task of developing a language center, using electronic technology in conjunction with the Silent Way. By next fall the first unit will be operating. Progress reports will appear in this newsletter as we move along. The fourth division will concentrate on education through television, especially offering the government solutions to the problems of illiteracy in their countries. The Spanish language program is now completed and is being tested with very satisfactory results. Soon we will offer more information about another important contribution we have made to the social education of young men and women (age 16 - 23) and which we are now introducing in the United States. The series My Life and My Work, named after its British counterpart, will become one of our separate divisions. In the past ten years the series has obtained all the laurels available for this particular field.
We are continuing this column as a further opportunity for workshop leaders to share their notes on how each of them approaches the task before meeting the participants, how each of them assesses the work done and how each of them takes the advantage of the lessons learned. Contributors to this issue are Caroline Chinlund, Katherine Mitchell and Janice Hinson. In order to continue making this forum a true dialogue and a valuable experience for all, we welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.
1 My first assignment for Educational Solutions is to do math work with teachers in three schools in New York City. To be in three schools has been a valuable opportunity to know better what my job is wherever I am. Horace Mann, at 65th Street and Fifth Avenue, is a newly organized private school consisting of three classes each of grades 1 – 3; the Day School of East Harlem Block Schools is a parent organized private school, grades 1 – 5, located in a store-front, a basement and a church; the Neighborhood Children’s Center, in East Harlem, is a day care
center for three through five year olds with an after school program for first and second graders. When I consider each place and what has happened there so far this year, the different atmospheres and characters of the schools come into focus. But more striking is the feeling I have that in the work of learning to be with it, the challenge wherever I am is the same: to be open to receive whoever comes where he is; to be ready to offer whatever I can that may bring about new awareness in all of us, keeping as an inspiration to efficiency the knowledge that the children we all meet are waiting to know themselves and their powers through mathematics â€” if we can learn not to stand in the way. At Horace Mann, where I had taught for two years after teaching elsewhere for a few years, I had the advantage of acquaintance with most of the twenty teachers and many children. Our work together, from the time of the seminars conducted at the opening of the preschool to the present, has been a collaboration, characterized by almost unanimous goodwill and zest for the work in mathematics and upon ourselves. This has made my job delightful. We found that the best use of the one and one half days I spend at the school was to have three seminars weekly, one for each grade level. These are of flexible format, ranging from exercises in new areas of work in math led by me, to sharing sessions where each of us offers the things he thinks will be of interest to others and I take advantage of my opportunity to observe all classes, to serve as an agent to put the teachers in contact with each other's strengths. There have been weeks where I arranged for the teachers to observe each other and use the seminar for feedback, other times where we focussed on a single problem during the seminar, did research assignments in class and reported on them at the following weekâ€™s meeting. Sometimes I have provided specific ideas and materials and followed them up in the classrooms, working with the children directly, but on the whole the teachers prefer to participate more actively and like to have me observe their lessons and give feedback. Because the teachers are genuinely interested in using my time with them in the most productive way, my days at Horace Mann are all
different and full of surprises. The most delightful surprises are the children I am asked to meet because they have presented some difficulty for their teachers. In these encounters I receive much, and do research on mathematical awareness which directly contributes to my work with the teachers. To take three steps back and look at what we've accomplished at this three quarters point in the year, I see that some of the teachers now own a lot more mathematics than they did in September and are committed to continuing to learn. Some, too easily delighted with their progress, see each accomplishment as an endpoint for the adventure and seem to want to wrap up the package of what they’ve done and live off it for a year or two. A few have been too distracted to make an entry. Whether or not this movement in their teachers has produced growth in the children’s mathematics is more difficult to assess than I might have hoped. The results have been different in each classroom. The one where the children have taken giant steps is noteworthy in that the teacher had less past experience and no expectations of what the children might or might not do. She simply put things into circulation and the children made them their own. I need to understand better how to help people get out of the way of the children's taking off. East Harlem Block Schools, where I spend one day a week, had had Algebricks in some of its classrooms since Madeleine Goutard’s year there in 1968-69, but most of the teachers, having joined the school after that time, had as a legacy only the legend of all that Madeleine had been able to accomplish with some children. In the three days of seminar we had together before school opened, I found the teachers ready to go more than halfway to make our time together worthwhile. I was immediately put in touch with the demands of working with a staff where half the teachers were professionals, graduates of education schools, and half were parents of the children, some of whom were still working to get high school equivalency. This was a really lively mixture, and when people got over being worried about each other’s susceptibilities, the heterogeneity of the group made the work more interesting for all of us.
Though nobody felt the three days had prepared him adequately for meeting the children, everyone was willing to experiment, and all but one of the teachers introduced the rods and other strategies we had explored into their classrooms. From then on, I have spent the day at the school visiting the classrooms, being with the teachers in whatever way they find most helpful. After school I have some part of the weekly staff meeting to use for seminar. On the whole the seminar time here is much less than at Horace Mann. It is harder for me to use it well too, as I have teachers, of all age levels together and they are often tired at the end of the day. But these seminars, when they have gotten off the ground, have brought me more of a feeling of having come away changed and renewed than any others. I suppose this is because they cannot have any of the quality of business meetings or inventory taking that the grade level meetings at Horace Mann do. Here, of ten teachers all but one have been moved to some degree in their mathematics. One has changed fully in his way of looking at the children and their powers. I’m glad the year isn’t over yet, as I know when I look at the children’s work that we have a long way to go in making them independent. I spend one afternoon a week at the Neighborhood Children’s Center. First I have a one-and-one-half hour seminar with all the teachers while the children have their naps; then I have about an hour to visit the classrooms. Since February when I started work there, the teachers have had rods in their classrooms, and I had hoped to use the seminars as a research into how much we could learn about entries into mathematics for the children by observing their play with the rods. This has not been successful as a format for the seminars and I am still in the process of finding an adjustment from my idea of what would be helpful to a way of working that is, in fact. The best times we have had to date involved all of us in games that were challenging and brought about new mathematical powers. I feel glad to have added my voice to the others in this newsletter. Now that you know where I am, please come and visit if you can. Caroline Chinlund 6
2 Although I had given workshops for teachers lasting one or two days, my work at C.S. 129-234 in the Bronx has offered a new challenge. Given the responsibility of leading one seminar a week with kindergarten teachers, one with first grade teachers, one with second grade teachers, and one with para-professionals (each officially 45 minutes, but usually allowing 35 minutes of working time) I asked myself whether we could make some progress in our teaching of mathematics, and could this progress be verified by the childrens’ learning in the classrooms? These weekly meetings have changed markedly over the past seven months. Until the Christmas vacation we worked together on reading and writing numerals, the set of fingers, the basic operations using the rods, etc. Although the teachers were feeling more at home with the materials, many were still uneasy about their work with the children. I was feeling mainly the limitations of such brief contact with these teachers and thinking that more time together was the primary requirement for our solving some of our problems. In January, however, these seminars took a slight turn. The reasons are multiple, but surely the teachers were better acquainted with me, with their children, and with the materials; and I myself knew the teachers and the children better. In addition, however, I had an insight (that seems obviously new) that affected my work with these teachers during the following months. One Monday in late January I began the seminar with the first grade teachers in the following way: “What happens when you ask me ‘how does one do multiplication with the rods?’ and I either show you or demonstrate in your classroom how one might work?” The teachers answered almost in unison: “We try to do what you do but it doesn’t work.” Then one teacher added: “Now I know that first I have to really understand it for myself before I can work with the children.” During the past two months my idea of the value of these short weekly meetings has changed. Several seminars were particularly enlightening to me and to them. One Monday I worked in Spanish on doubling and halving. This proved powerful in illustrating to the teachers how they use their perception to derive meaning from actions. And moreover, how they 7
acquire the language to accompany this set of meanings. At another meeting a para-professional began our seminar by asking a question about “prime factors,” a term she had met while studying for an examination. After some work, it was apparent to her that this was a label for something she already knew. I took this opportunity to explore with her and with the others how one can use what appears to be complicated language as long as one knows what one is talking about. In twenty minutes they were answering questions such as
Or, just last week a first grade teacher began our seminar by saying: “I took a seminar with Marty Hoffman over the weekend where we worked in Base V for two days. It was so helpful and I feel we should do this in our weekly meetings.” I responded to this invitation and in thirty minutes we had in front of us the crosses which appear in the top row of the product charts and were gaining some facility in multiplication, division and fractions in Base V. This was ample time for some of the teachers to notice that the perception was the same whether we worked in Base V or Base X; that the algebra was the same; and that only the names of these crosses had changed by working in Base V. These few minutes were sufficient to bring one teacher to exclaim: “And to think that I get mad when the children don’t seem to know that 7 + 5 ~ 12 (X), something that seems so obvious to me!” In my continued contact with these teachers, I have seen some changes. For instance, their questions are different. I seldom have requests like: “Show me another way to do subtraction. I tried what you showed last week and it didn’t work.” Rather, there is more evidence of each one pin-pointing her problems and bringing them to the seminars. I find that when I understand what there is to understand in a given situation, I have little trouble making these awarenesses accessible to the teachers in front of me — even if we have only a few minutes together. And when I do not understand, it is usually evident, and I take time to clarify my mind. Many of the teachers are also finding this true in their work with the children in their classrooms. Katherine Mitchell 8
3 Before each reading workshop, I spend some time thinking about how I can create a workshop situation through which the participants will gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the powers of children. I find it most helpful to re-read What We Owe Children, especially the discussion of the powers of children and how functionings are acquired. I begin a Words in Color workshop by asking if the participants have observed certain powers children have developed which might be helpful in teaching them to read. This usually leads to working on discovering the relationship between the spoken language which the children own and the printed page which they do not yet own â€” the temporal and spatial and the need to link the two. We also discuss the conventions of the printed page. It is through this study that I try to work on the problem of sharpening their awarenesses of the existence of certain intellectual powers which all children must possess in order to learn to speak their native tongue. This usually demands quite a bit of workshop time but helps the participants develop criteria for knowing how powerful are the minds of children and why Words in Color solves the problem of teaching reading. We then begin studying Words in Color by working on the philosophy of the Subordination of Teaching to Learning, and its application to the teaching of reading. This task leads further to an examination of the techniques and materials. I spend quite a bit of time on Stage I (first 9 sounds, Book 1, Word Building Book pages 1 & 2, Worksheet 1, Charts 1 & 2) making sure each participant gets to practice introducing the sounds, making and writing of words and sentences with visual dictation 1 and 2 and oral dictation. We take time to study the linkage on Chart 2 and the part algebra plays in learning to read in order to get a lot from just a little. This makes clearer the idea of reading as a knowhow rather than as knowledge.
While studying the Charts and working on visual dictation 2, the participants work on their own transformations, not only in game form but also transformations from words on the Charts to other possible words not included on the Charts. These exercises help them see what are the dynamics that can be generated from the Charts as well as within them. The cumulative effect of learning suggests itself by the very way in which one works on the subsequent Charts. Having abandoned the colored chalk, we study the uses and importance of the Worksheets and ways to get into them. The participants usually work through the first Worksheet in order to know what is asked of the learners. I try to help the participants see the correlation between the Word Building Books, Worksheets and Charts, so that they will want to use the Word Building Book and Worksheets and thus gain certain powers by doing the exercises in stead of using the Word Charts alone. We work on ways of preparing the children for the Worksheets by teaching gap games and the 4 ways of transforming words before the Worksheets are presented. While we are studying the 4 stages of Words in Color (Stage I: learning to read with a restricted language, Stage II: meeting most sounds of English with regular spellings, Stage III: meeting all sounds and spellings, Stage IV: Phonic Code, expand ed creative writing and spelling) and the correlation of Charts, Worksheets, Word Building Book and primers, I work on the growing awareness of the teachers of how Words in Color subordinates teaching to learning in the field of reading and how its very design makes use of the powers of children. The workshop thrives on feedback and I find it vital in knowing where the participants are and what areas need more work at any given time. The workshop ends with a final statement of feedback from each participant. This helps me in planning my next workshop and proves to me each time that communication is truly as Dr. Gattegno says, A miracle! Janice Hinson
On Being A Consultant (At Rafael Hernande)
I have learned during the past few months that being a consultant in the schools is a complex process. It is one thing to state succinctly that my job is to be a catylist for the education of awareness and quite another to live it. Fortunately, during my training period there were many opportunities to observe other consultants and talk with them about their role in the schools. Seeing each of them functioning as a distinct personality and having worked for one month in the Twin Parks School, allowed me to recognize that it was not my knowledge of mathematics per se but my whole self that I would have to use at the Rafael Hernandez Bilingual School. When we arrived at the opening of the school, in February, the teachers had many expectations about our function there. They wanted most desperately a demonstration of how to provide instant order in school, obviously not taking into account the energies of the children. It was understandable that they were primarily concerned with survival, particularly because their demanding schedule gave them no prep periods, not even time for a quiet lunch. Many of the teachers were shocked by our way of working in the classroom â€” shocked to see the children often do so much in so short a time, and shocked to see us prepared to work with those children who were willing to work instead of demanding everyone's undivided attention.
That time has now past. They no longer expect us to provide a magical panacea for classroom management, rather they see that we are trying to find out how best to meet the children as we work with them. There is now more time to talk with the teachers. Most of them at this point accept us as having something to offer and are willing to listen to what we have to say. There are a few teachers who have gone beyond this and have something to say themselves about what is happening in the classroom. This suggests that there is increasing possibility for a fruitful dialogue. In cases where there is still reluctance to make contact, some teachers are still viewing what is happening superficially, in terms of materials and formalized techniques; others sense that greater involvement would demand a closer look at themselves than they are presently willing to risk. I certainly must try to make myself as sensitive as possible to the shifting moods and pre-occupations of these teachers. I must look for the moment when they are willing to take the plunge â€” to move toward greater freedom in themselves and to open themselves to the children they teach. During the past three months, I have felt increasingly the freedom which being a consultant allows one to have. Although there is a great deal that I cannot yet articulate and much more that I have to learn, I sense a greater integration of my concern for education in the schools and the education of awareness in my own living. As I ride the subway each morning on my way to Rafael Hernandez, I am conscious of the times when I can let go of the past and allow each day to bring something new to me. Zulie Catir
From Action. . .
One of the most interesting aspects of the year in Acton has been the growth of the staff as a group working together. Much of this movement grew out of weekend workshops with Dr. Gattegno, when the staff worked on such problems as science, music and art as well as on energy and somatic education. One of the integral parts of the original proposal for the school was that the staff would be responsible for determining basic policy, including staffing, evaluation and budget. For several months this winter we worked on preliminary budget determinations. Finally the group was prepared â€” or forced, because of the pressure of time â€” to take on the difficult job of self-evaluation, a process which was to lead to recommendations to the School Committee as to who on the present staff would return next year. The procedure, briefly, was as follows. Meeting in three small groups, each staff member presented his/her own self-evaluation, based on 6 points previously agreed on. (1. Relationships with students; 2. Curriculum, Material competence; 3. Relationships with staff, community; 4. Accountability to school goals; 5. Effectiveness in terms of professional goal, i.e. are the children learning; 6. Any other concerns.) Other members of the group gave feedback. This was one of the first times when real feedback was given on the issues that had been left unresolved all year. A real beginning was made in facing and working on the hard questions that the staff had previously avoided. This was followed by a written self-evaluation which incorporated
group feedback. These records were made available to the entire staff to read and comment upon in writing. The final step was an intensive 9-hour meeting of the entire staff when each person summarized the feedback he/she had gotten and made a recommendation as to his/her status. In many cases the decision was easy; in others there was extensive discussion to provide direction for growth of the person both as a teacher and staff member. The written self-evaluations and comments and the minutes of the final meeting are to form part of the permanent record of the school. *** The enthusiasm that the children have for Words in Color and mathematics is most evident â€” they stay in from recess to work on the fidel, and ask for new math challenges in their free time. Progress in the primary grades especially has been great, in part because of the greater willingness of those teachers to learn and use the materials effectively. It is anticipated that the emphasis next year will be on working with teachers in the intermediate grades in order to meet the children as they progress. We are starting to work in this direction already this spring. There is still a need to set high standards for the children and to work to meet those challenges. Penny Dunning
Action In Ohio
March and April proved to have been progressive months for us in Ohio. As you know, Bruce and I attended weekly meetings of the Primary Education Sub-Committee of Project Unite, for the Columbus Public Schools. While there were only 30 people on our particular subcommittee, the entire Project Unite, seven Search and Solve Teams, number close to 2,000 citizen volunteers. We showed the P.S. 133 film to our sub-committee which prompted them to include the suggestion that Words in Color be expanded into the Columbus Schools. Today we received the completed report from the Project Unite Committees, as did every citizen of the entire Columbus Public Schools area. It was exciting to see within the 12 page report this on page 2 . . . â€œWe recommend that certain programs which have achieved some success either in Columbus or elsewhere be expanded into others schools . . . . . that various reading programs such as ITA, WORDS IN COLOR, and Individualized Reading Programs be expanded . . . .â€? Now we are ready to work!!!!! Words in Color was initiated into a pre-kindergarten classroom in Columbus under Title I ESEA. The 30 four year olds in the two classes are teaching the teacher and those who visit lots about how capable they are and about the task of learning to read. There is interest in two more Columbus inner-city schools and I am hopeful that we will be in those schools as well by this fall. While there was no guarantee for the pre-kindergarten classes, it is becoming evident to many Columbus
educators that we can support the claims we make about children learning to read. April was a particularly busy month as I sent over 200 copies of the Ohio Newsletter, the EDSOLON, to teachers and administrators in Ohio. I also enclosed a brochure on the summer schedule of workshops in reading and mathematics which I offer from this office. During a math workshop I conducted here last weekend, we found this basement office quite comfortable now that we have a remnant carpet, a fair size green chalkboard, and the walls decorated with the Word Charts, Phonic Code, Product Chart and Spanish Silent Way charts. With these and the pleasant cool temperature of the basement, those who work here in workshops or in office matters, find it practically impossible to doze on the job! I continue to make contacts with teachers and administrators in Ohio. That job seems almost endless. And since we have a lovely supply of materials, I am able to supply Ohio purchasers with their requested materials within 24 hours and usually less! Janice Hinson
Elimination Of Illiteracy At C.S. 129
Since mid-October, 1971, I have been one of several teachers, consultants, teacher-trainers at the Twin Parks School in the Bronx focusing my work on the elimination of illiteracy in grades 3 - 6. As none of us had ever undertaken such a project, we had no plan of procedure â€” only the certainty that the 120 children who were not reading could become readers â€” and could perhaps be reading in a matter of days or weeks or months. Agreeing that the elimination of illiteracy was a priority at C.S. 129, the administration supported that four of us (Joel, Annette, Maria and I) give the major part of our time to this undertaking. As I look back on my first months of working, I see that the large numbers of non-readers particularly concerned me and directed my work in some ways. I quickly found that some of the children, although not functioning as readers, already had a beginning. I worked with several groups of these children, and in 5 to 10 hours, many were back with their classes, gaining the practice to make them stronger. On the other hand, I worked with a number of beginning groups; and after several weeks, these children were working with their classmates. This decision to work first with those who had a beginning, those who showed a great amount of goodwill, and those who worked easily with other children had its sense. By Christmas vacation I had returned 30 children to their classrooms. And when I compared notes with the three others working specially on the elimination of illiteracy, we found that of the 120 non-readers with whom we started, only 40 were not reading.
Starting in January, my work with the non-readers changed considerably. I began to meet children whose difficulties demanded that I work in a different way. I met William, a 13 year old who agreed to come work with me only if his friend Bernard (who was already a reader) came with him. And in my first meetings with William and Bernard each of my invitations to William to “show a word he knew,” or “give us a sentence,” or “to point to the sentence he had just read,” was followed by: “I know it, but I’m not going to show you.” I met Alberto, who after making what seemed to me tremendous progress in our first two hours together, told me that he would not come again. I met Juliette, who since September had managed not to say a word in her classroom, and I wondered what could happen between us to allow her to open herself to me. It was clear that these children, and others whom I have not mentioned would take more time — NOT because it was more difficult for them to learn to read but because I needed the time to know them better and to understand what their difficulties were. I found myself working with 1 or 2 children at a time and using the pop-ups more and more. For the next three months, my contact was restricted to about 15 children. In late January, I was fortunate to meet Juan among these most puzzling children. A 13 year old who had a limited functional vocabulary in Spanish as well as English, Juan taught me more than anyone else what I needed to do to be helpful to the children with whom I was currently working. The lessons he taught me are many, but two were particularly eye-opening. The first involved ray decision, after working for two weeks in English with Juan, to teach him first to read Spanish. I somehow knew that I was coming to understand Juan and that this would more than compensate for my limited facility with Spanish. This has certainly been true. The second insight came when I watched Dr. Gattegno work with Juan. Immediately Dr. Gattegno spotted one or two of the difficulties still standing in Juan’s way. For me, what was most striking in this was the awareness that my affection for Juan and my delight that he was reading (when he gave proof of it) had distracted me from working on the obstacles still hampering him. Juan has spent more time with me than any other child — perhaps 50 hours. But he has moved from non-reader to reading and writing English and Spanish. After
Elimination Of Illiteracy At C.S. 129
Spring vacation he showed me more than 100 sentences he had written at home â€” half of them in English, the other half in Spanish. As more children returned to their classes with strong beginning but with need of concentrated practice, the teachers of grades 3 to 6 decided to create classes for them as well as for those who had not yet begun to read. In March one teacher from grade 3 and another from the fourth grade began to work with these beginners for an hour each day. Already these classes have had surprises. For instance, I saw four third graders, who had made slow progress while working with me, move very quickly in this new situation. I saw Yvette, with whom Maria had painstakingly worked for months in Spanish, make sense of English in a few days. The creation of these classes has served in other ways the elimination of illiteracy at C.S. 129. By having these children together, we can see who is moving well. On the other hand, we can pinpoint those few who have not yet made sense of reading. I think of Tyrone, for instance. As all of us working on the elimination of illiteracy had our hands full, no one had worked specially with Tyrone. He sat the first week in a third grade beginning class appearing not to participate at all. And yet when I met with him for the first time, he showed that he had taken in a great deal. After one hour his face, as well as his work, indicated that he understood everything; and after another hour, he returned to his beginning class to work as actively and knowingly as anyone. There are other examples like Tyrone, particularly among the new admissions. What I have learned from this work with the non-readers is invaluable. Of particular importance for me are the following: that when I make myself sensitive to each one, he will tell me what to do with him, and these entries will be as different as the children are; that the pop-ups and Leocolor offer so many possibilities for entry, particularly with children who in the beginning are easily distracted; that investment and emotions keep me from seeing what there is to do; that I am ignorant when I meet each one of these children, and only each oneâ€™s feedback (in its various manisfestations) can tell me if what I am doing is related to his difficulty. Katherine Mitchell
â€˜My Life And My Workâ€™ Humanization Of Careers
For most of us, at one stage or another in our life, the question of what we should do with ourselves has arisen. Since the nature of modern society is such that a place for every one of us cannot be found as a matter of course, while we are growing up in our home, many of us drift from job to job, not very satisfied with what we find ourselves doing. In order to be able to recognize clear choices among the existing opportunities, it is necessary that we all be better acquainted with the existing complexities of our societies. Unfortunately, until now the complexities of society have shown themselves mainly in the technical and technological aspects. Hence it is easy to classify and schematize the job openings and to mention qualifications to fill them and at the same time not give the slightest information about what will be encountered on taking a job. There are a number of solutions available to educators who are interested in meeting the challenge of preparing people for what would be life-giving to them. The one which this writer proposed and carried out by becoming a publisher in England over ten years ago, can be described in the following way. Anyone who can generate an interest in readers for what has occupied him for years, is asked to write a story giving an account of what one has to bring to a job, and what he can expect to take away. The story is from an insider, is alive, and cannot
avoid showing what that person did with the opportunities offered by life. If the writer is genuine, humble, excited by his work and is writing for no other purpose than to share the goodness found in one way of using one’s life, the book will be contagious for those who have similar temperaments, inclinations, interests, ambitions. So one can conclude after reading a particular story of a life, “how beautiful, but not for me” or “this is just what I would like my life to be like,” or anything in between. The fifty or so volumes which are a part of the series have received wide recognition in Great Britain and Australia, and we are working towards making it known in the United States. My Life and My Work has proven that it is now possible to humanize careers. C.G.
About Caleb Gattegno Caleb Gattegno is the teacher every student dreams of; he doesnâ€™t require his students to memorize anything, he doesnâ€™t shout or at times even say a word, and his students learn at an accelerated rate because they are truly interested. In a world where memorization, recitation, and standardized tests are still the norm, Gattegno was truly ahead of his time. Born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1911, Gattegno was a scholar of many fields. He held a doctorate of mathematics, a doctorate of arts in psychology, a master of arts in education, and a bachelor of science in physics and chemistry. He held a scientific view of education, and believed illiteracy was a problem that could be solved. He questioned the role of time and algebra in the process of learning to read, and, most importantly, questioned the role of the teacher. The focus in all subjects, he insisted, should always be placed on learning, not on teaching. He called this principle the Subordination of Teaching to Learning. Gattegno travelled around the world 10 times conducting seminars on his teaching methods, and had himself learned about 40 languages. He wrote more than 120 books during his career, and from 1971 until his death in 1988 he published the Educational Solutions newsletter five times a year. He was survived by his second wife Shakti Gattegno and his four children.
Published on Aug 7, 2009