Posts Tagged ‘pedagogy’

Our social skills necessitated a larger volume of brain. In order to be efficient the brain requires various inputs than its mere physiology would entail. A fetus can distinguish inflections of sounds and distinguish anger and soothing words without seeing the world of the grown ups. Even so the baby can only speak much later. Hearing is not speaking. Different areas in the brain need to be put in place to do the various functions properly.

 Earliest way of imparting much needed skills in hunting was no different from the manner birds teach their young to fly. We note upon closer observation eagles and other birds of prey begin with demonstrating the art of flying to their chicks. Slowly they approach it by pushing chicks from their secure perch and giving them confidence by flying with them. They never force their chicken unless they are certain that they are ready to use their wings. Whereas we find modern parents push the toddlers to fulfill their expectations that are more often not realistic. Progress demands many social changes and technology expects parents to be at beck and call of the demands of the market. So parents are driven to give quality time instead of letting nature take a hand in the maturing of children. Thus progress driven technology sends its slipstream to social changes as well.

Tiger moms who drill their six year olds to be piano prodigies may have them acquire mechanical skills by sheer dint but are they getting benefit of the glorious music they play as were by rote?



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In their self-published book, To Train Up a Child, Pearl, 66, and his wife Debi, 60, recommend the systematic use of “the rod” to teach young children to submit to authority. They offer instructions on how to use a switch for hitting children as young as six months, and describe how to use other implements, including a quarter-inch flexible plumbing line. Older children, the Pearls say, should be hit with a belt, wooden spoon or willow switch, hard enough to sting. Michael Pearl has said the methods are based on “the same principles the Amish use to train their stubborn mules.”
One sure to make a monkey of your child is to monkey with their natural drive. Amish way of driving sense into mules is to make them bear burdens. Pity the Pearls thought it fit to mistake a child for a stubborn mule. The Pearls broke the cardinal rule in child-rearing: know who is under your charge. One of life’s many miracles is that bonding where a child knows its peer and the elder knows what is best in that never before tried article under their watch. How would that be realized, one may ask. As Locke would say consider a child as tabula rasa a clean slate. If you are writing your frustration or momentary annoyance on such a table, be forewarned you have already driven deeper something into the child. After having impressed such errors of your own weakness and failure it is easy for you to wash your hands off blaming your partners side of poor genetic material. Education means you are bringing out what is best in a child. The child being a clean slate needs to be taken on trust and by careful observation create certain natural disposition for it to respond to. The more a child’s curiosity is aroused in certain line of interest it could be enthused to seek it out on its own interfering only where your presence is warranted. A child is still flexible and shall bounce out of its limitations in the sense of economic necessity imposed on it from without. It is not the latest gadgets that determine quality of happiness for a child but in his self discovery. Everything it encounters is fresh and miraculous and it is what parents need to preserve and not its tantrums and rudeness. Not getting what it wants is soon forgotten if child can be certain there are other alternatives where his attention can latch onto. The child seeks the boundaries and in certain areas it must be shown by its peers as crucial to be understood.
Accept a child as possessing good sense and it shall understand what it means. Treat a child as twit and you have already made preliminary steps for an obstacle course in the future. At the age of six I thought I would write like Shakespeare for the home theatricals we siblings played under the direction of the eldest sister of 10. Nobody made me feel like a fool. I never thought it was impossible. My father, a stern disciplinarian that he was, and a figure of authority eased his discipline in my case. He was certain that I was not cut out to be a doctor like my siblings but as an artist. So he allowed many liberties that other never dared to take within his earshot. He let me study at my own pace and read whatever took my fancy. Luckily my memory was quite good to absorb from such varied reading I did with no formal plan. It was my decision to take up architecture since I felt architecture combined, many disciplines as one and at the core was clarity of vision. It was up my alley.
Sorry for the digression.
Before closing, I was reared by the rod and yet it did not bruise me since My father spared my amour propre from any bruise; howsoever strict he was I knew he cared for what I am and what I was struggling to be.

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School District 202 in Plainfield, Illinois, joins other school districts across the nation in banning “look-alike drugs”: candy cigarettes, fake chewing tobacco, non-alcoholic beer, and oregano. Various reasons are cited for the ban, one being that candy cigarettes can possibly lead to real cigarette use, that they send an inappropriate presmoking message. Secondly, that the prevalence of fake drugs makes it difficult for school administrators to find the real ones. And that the use of certain substitutes such as mint-flavored herbal snuff increase the chance that users may be considered “yuppies.” (Chicago Tribune, 1/7/92, 2/7/92). If child minders cannot distinguish between the real and playacting why should they mind children? They should spend their time usefully elsewhere and not mess up with children.
Much of our draconian laws arise from our own unfounded fears. Like Israel choking the Palestinians in Gaza and they think it is collective punishment and would send a strong message to Hamas. I am sure if given chance the state of Israel would be at it even after 100 years. From this collective punishment the only group that is reaping much in public support and sympathy is Hamas.
Israel in a way is raising a fresh wave of intifada from child of today.
If the powers that be in Israel could only distinguish between a punishment that work and that doesn’t the Palestine problem would have been by now on the table. Like the school administrators cannot distinguish between fake drugs and the real, the Israel government cannot search their own hearts or minds and arrive at a balanced view without the pressure groups orthodox Jews and the like, coming in between.
I am responsible for my life. It is plain as day. But interference from all corners should make me irresponsible for the mess around me, there must be wrong with laws that create this situation? For instance I paid the cost of raising my child, a quarter million of hard earned money, and end up with a son who stays home and smoke pot; he cannot even speak English that I thought was requisite for a well educated man. Who is to blame. Somewhere all my labor,discipline, industry and everything I regarded as fruits of progress have been messed up.
In short someone has shortchanged quarter of a million of my money, I raised with sweat of my brow. Who is irresponsible party and is to blame?

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939) is a classic film looking at British school system with a rose tinted glass. It might well be for the author of the book on which the film was based was a teacher himself. Mr. Chips was modeled on W.H. Balgarnie, James Hilton’s old classics master who taught for over 50 years at The Leys public school in Cambridge. James Hilton’s short novel of the same name was first published in the British Weekly and then in The Atlantic Monthly (April 1934 issue).

The plot is simple. It traces the life of a British schoolteacher guiding many generations of schoolboys through almost 60 years of education at the fictitious Brookfield School, from his early career days as a young classic scholar to his slightly doddering old age.
For authenticity’s sake, this melodrama was filmed at the Repton School that was founded in 1557, with actual students and faculty serving as extras in the cast.
The film was remade three times and none of these is as unforgettable as the 1939 version. (Herbert Ross’ big-budget musical drama/romance Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969) with Peter O’Toole as the schoolmaster in an Oscar-nominated performance (he won the Golden Globe award for Best Actor – Musical or Comedy), as a 1984 BBC-TV mini-series with Roy Marsden, and as the 2002 made-for-TV movie for Masterpiece Theatre with Martin Clunes in the title role.)
Robert Donat rightly deserved his Oscar for Best Actor in the year of the giants: Clark Gable (Gone With the Wind), James Stewart (Mr.Smith Goes To Washington) and Laurence Olivier (Wuthering Heights) were other nominees for the same category.
Film In Depth

The film opens within the quadrangle of the revered Brookfield School, founded in 1492:

…one can almost feel the centuries…Gray old age, dreaming over a crowded past.

A train whistle blows, signaling the arrival of chattering, excited boys for the beginning of the new school term. They file into a building for an all-school assembly, and they are about to fulfil the time-honored tradition of the British boys’ school called ‘call-over.’ [The film ends with the same tradition.] A master stands at the doorway with a list of the names of each pupil, and the boys file past and call out their last name.

The film opens around the late 1920s.
The story of Mr. Charles Chipping (nicknamed “Mr. Chips”) at Brookfield is told through flashback memories, as he dozes as an old codger in front of a fire at Mrs. Wickett’s (Louise Hampton) place just across from the school:

A long time ago, yes. A long time. Things are different now. (He hears other voices: “Chips at Brookfield. Discipline, Mr. Chipping, discipline,” and the last names of boys during a typical ‘call-over.’)

He remembers how he arrived in 1870 at Brookfield Boys School as a shy, withdrawn 24 year-old Latin master, wearing a bowler hat. Appearing eager but uncertain as a novice on the “Brookfield special” train full of new “stinkers,” he is an easy target for their teasing.
The hold of the film on a viewer is built gradually. In the manner the awkward and cold school master copes with his fears of failure and disappointments (of being bypassed from becoming a housemaster with the retirement benefits and loss of his wife) we see the gift of love which abounds in one so noted for lack of  warmth and vision. A traditional British school life of the time one might think is an all-male prerogative with studies and cricket predominating. Mr. Chips for all his disadvantages was lucky to find a progressive English suffragate in his first summer vacation while cycling through Tyrol, Europe.
After being introduced to a new History master, a young graduate named Mr. Jackson (David Tree), Chipping remembers how it “took time – too much time” to become a beloved old schoolmaster.
Jackson:You seem to have found the secret in the end.
Chips: Hmm? What? The secret? Oh, yes, in the end. But I didn’t find it myself, Mr. Jackson. It was given to me by someone else. Someone else.
The grandeur of little people is not that they set the world on fire but they realize they could mold influences that came their way however small and make them go long way. In the present world the challenge of teaching as a profession is swamped under high paid jobs in the corporate world, teaching is far less considered as a welcome choice. Mr. Chips would have lived his life without fulfilling his potential had he not that vision. It was a gift passed on by his wife, Katherine Ellis, a charming, beautiful, spunky English girl from Bloomsbury (Greer Garson in her exceptional film debut.) She makes him thaw and see what a great calling he has.
Chipping: Do you suppose a person in middle age could start life over again and make a go of it?
Katherine: I’m sure of it. Quite sure. It must be tremendously interesting to be a schoolmaster.

Chipping: I thought so once.
Katherine: To watch boys grow up and help them along. To see their characters develop and what they become when they leave school and the world gets hold of them. I don’t see how you could ever get old in a world that’s always young.
Chipping: I never really thought of it that way. When you talk about it, you make it sound exciting and heroic.
Katherine: It is.

Give this core idea of a teacher who renews himself to mold so many ‘stinkers’ to take up responsible positions later in life is inspiring. One who accepts his humble position in life and keep the gift of life through the loss of his wife ( after just one year together she dies during delivery and also her infant) and loss of many other to war is touched by grandeur. Of course Robert Donat’s acting is so exceptional we are also moved to feel empathy for him as he advances well into old age.

Towards the end we see Mr.Chips ill and on his deathbed. He is in his eighties, in response to overhearing that he was a poor chap and must have had a lonely life by himself – with regrets because he never had children of his own, Mr. Chips stirs and refutes the remark:

Doctor: Poor old chap. He must have had a lonely life all by himself.
Headmaster: Not always by himself. He married, you know.
Doctor: Did he? I never knew about that.
Headmaster: She died, a long while ago.
Doctor: Pity. Pity he never had any children.
Chips: What, what was that you were saying about me?
Headmaster: Nothing at all old man. Nothing at all. We were just wondering when you were going to wake up out of that beauty sleep of yours.
Chips: I heard you. You were talking about me.
Headmaster: Nothing of consequence, old man. I give you my word.
Chips: I thought I heard you say ’twas a pity, a pity I never had children. But you’re wrong…I have…thousands of them…thousands of them…and all boys!

With his eyes closed, he smiles as the camera rises up when he passes on. He dreamily remembers many schoolboys filing past to repeat their names at call-over, while the music of the school song swells in volume in the background. The final lad, the superimposed image of the last Peter Colley, appears and speaks directly into the camera:
Goodbye, Mr. Chips…Goodbye...

The film was voted the 72nd greatest British film ever in the BFI Top 100 British films poll.
The film was shot at Winchester College and Denham Film Studios.
Directed by     Sam Wood
Produced by     Victor Saville
Written by     R.C. Sherriff
Claudine West
Eric Maschwitz
James Hilton (novel)
Music by     Richard Addinsell
Cinematography     Freddie Young
Editing by     Charles Frend
Distributed by     MGM
Running time     114 minutes
Language     English

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Movies with the Same Personnel
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Other Related Movies
To Sir, With Love  (1967, James Clavell)
has been remade as:      Goodbye, Mr. Chips  (1969, Herbert Ross)
Goodbye, Mr. Chips  (2002, Stuart Orme)
(Ack:filmsite, allmovie, wikipedia)
compiler: benny

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