My favorite character is also my favorite author,Pat Conroy. In his novel "The River is Wide" He writes of his own experience as a teacher of illiterate children on an island off the South CArolina coast. I loved this character becuse of his revolutionary approach to teaching kids for whom all others had given up hope.
He set up his lessons so that the kids made discoveries while learning. His classes were noisy,filled with excitment,as the kids discovered new things. They called him "Conrack",not being able to pronouonce his name. The principal running the school was your typical woodenheaded beaurocrat,believing in only the traditional way of teaching,parroting lessons by rote in a quiet classroom with kids sitting in rows.
AT the end of the year,after winning the love,respect and excitement from kids who had up to this time had no hope in ever learning anything,he was fired. He did not fit in the box.
This novel was made into a movie,and I cried at the ending,showing the kids all waving goodbye to "Conrack" as he motored away in a boat,the kids playing Beethoven on a record player as he became smaller and smaller,until he was but a speck on the horizon.
Why did I love this book and this character? because I have had personal experience with this same kind of teaching. A couple of years ago I was hired in a CAtholic school for disbled children as music therapist. The principal,being from the" music educator" stance,wanted me to teach how to read music,the lives of composers,etc.THis is NOT music therapy.THIs is music education.And they are polar opposites.
Instead,my kids worked on a talent show,based on" AMerican Idol",complete with judges,camera men,and performers.One very handsome boy of 14 did "Baba O REilly" from the Who, another couple,boy and girl sang a duet from Grease.The younger kids sang in chorus parts,and the parents were invited o see the show. This fostered my goals of self expression,group cohesiveness,and improved self esteem.
My classrooms were noisy with the kids filled with the excitement of performing,and the knowledge that,whatever their level,it was their own music,expressed from their hearts.
Sister A.wuld come into the room during some of my classes,holding up her two fingers for "silence"
AT the end of the year she told me"they had no funds for a music therapist next year"
The following year I checked the webite,and,sure enough,there was another music therpist on there.
The lesson? "if you dont think in the box it is not considered education.
This is also known as the "dumbing down of AMerica"
Causes Heather Koelle Supports
public health care,world peace,environmental stewardship,psychology,society against child abuse,spiriitual and psychological quests,recovery issues,mental...