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Lesson Plans

Re: Whole language/Blind Eugenie, etc.

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Teresa Tipton (
Tue, 30 Apr 1996 10:04:34 -0700 (PDT)

The process of art, whether in written or verbal form, is often "at odds"
with the status quo, whether it be a school system, expectations of
classroom teachers, a community, or cultural preferences. Blind Eugenie
raised some important concerns about how "the school system" stifles
creativity, incentive, and motivation of some students by imposing an
artificial structure onto their behavior and choices. We
understand this structure as a way to "maintain control" in the
classroom. Anyone who has been involved in alternative schools and
alternative pedagogies knows that there are many ways to achieve the same
end. We know that the process of learning has many "styles" which are in
same cases, culturally based. Individual differences of "style" are just
beginning to be recognized and supported in classroom methodology, yet
the majority of schools are still "left-brain" based, or what Gardner
calls the "logical" intelligence. Yet, we also know, that this method of
instruction reaches less than 30% of our students.

I recently observed an incident in a first grade classroom which supports
the "angst" described in Blind Eugenie's earlier e-mail - where a boy was
"discovering" that color mixed in water, as well as on the paper.
He put his hands in the water to "feel" the color, adding new colors and
mixing it with his hands, instead of swirling it with a paintbrush.
Suddenly the teacher jumped all over him for "MAKING A MESS" and punished him
by taking away his paints and making him sit in the corner.

This kind of interaction stifles creativity and shuts down innovation.
And it happens everyday in every school in one form or another. Yes,
we need to balance freedom with structure, but let's support the innovators
who are boundary breakers and create new forms, outside of exisiting norms.

Blind Eugenie is a nonconformist and the method of writing and elocution
may not fit into someone's standard of discourse, but it should be
valued, regardless of whether people agree or not with the ideas presented.

Teresa Tipton

On Wed, 24 Apr 1996, Cheryl Kupcinski wrote:

> Thanks Chris M. for the 'key' to translating the Blind Eugenie ramblings.
> I think your point of education being (sometimes) an experiment is an
> important one. We all try a lesson plan (or more) in our careers that just
> do not fly, and we as educators learn from it. However, when a school is
> willing to experiment, on a long term basis across the grade levels, one
> has to ask -- at whose expense? I had a principal once say, 'I wouldn't
> have a dictionary in my classroom;kids spend too much time looking through
> it.' Other listeners out there have also commented on the grammar issue . .
> . maybe Blind Eugenie will take note.

  • Reply: Kathrine L Walker: "Re: funny"