Trust The Children

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some Wisdom From Alice at Harvard

"I'm quite content to stay here-only I am so hot and thirsty!"

'I know what you'd like!" the Queen said good naturedly, taking a little box out of her pocket. "Have a biscuit?"

Alice thought it would not be civil to say "No" though it wasn't at all what she wanted. So she took it, and ate it as well as she could. And it was very dry and she thought she had never been so nearly choked in her life.

While you're refreshing yourself," said the Queen. I'll just take the measurements. Have another biscuit?"

"No, thank you," said Alice. "One's quite enough!"

"Thirst quenched, I hope?" said the Queen.

Alice did not know what to say to this, but luckily the Queen did not wait for an answer, but went on.

("Teaching and the Case Method" p. 18.)

What are the implications of the following description of teaching, to the quoted narative above?

"How we teach is what we teach."


"The job of the teacher, as I see it, is to teach students, not how to draw but how to learn to draw. They must acquire some real method of finding out facts for themselves lest they be limited for the rest of their lives to facts the instructor relates. Thev discover something of the true nature of artistic creation - of the hidden processes bv which inspiration works."

( K. Nicolaides, Introduction to the Natural Way to Draw (Boston:Houghton Mifflin, 1941)


One does not learn to play golf by reading a book, but by taking club in hand and actually hitting a golf ball, preferably under a pro's watchful eye.

To give the map to others (as a teacher might) is to give the results of an experience, not the experience itself by which the map was produced.

The point again is, to trust that you are giving your children a wonderful gift, when you allow them the time and opportunity to follow their own curiosity and discover for themselves the depth and breadth of their interests. They not only learn, but in a very natural way, learn HOW to learn. They learn to trust in their own ability to make sense of the world on their own terms. They become strong in conviction. They get to more of the why of things than just the what. Again, this is a great gift to give to them, The more your you remove your own ego and need to be affirmed by your "students" the more room you make for their personalities to fill up the space you now make available to them. Cyndy would say there is a balance here. I agree. One thing we both value, though, is the tendency our children have, to be very comfortable teaching themselves many things, when they want to learn something. It is just amazing to watch, day in and day out.

Try it for a few weeks and watch the bud blossom. Try if for longer and the plant is truly beautiful, the fruit truly pleasing. At least that has been our experience. Trust them to learn, especially from your example of being curious and learning yourself.

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