6. Comprehension and learning are inseparable

I pulled six quotes from the Introduction of Frank Smith’s „Comprehension and Learning: A Conceptual Framework for Teachers.” Frank Smith had those sentences arranged into one all congruent, fluent line of thought. However, as a numbered list they read more like the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of Ludwig Wittengenstein. While some fellow Austrian’s might giggle at the geekiness, it’s better than nothing, since Frank Smith’s books are either outrageously priced, or not available for purchase at all. So here are my self-selected nuggets, er, quotes:

  1. Children at school are not a special race of animal, nor do their capacities change the moment they cross the threshold of the classroom.
  2. The basic assertion is that the only effective and meaningful way in which anyone can learn is by attempting to relate new experiences to what she believes already.
  3. The task of education is not to create or even develop the ability to learn, but to understand and respect its nature, thereby facilitating its operation.
  4. Children are not empty vessels into which teachers pour selected skills and nuggets of knowledge. Rather, it is in the child’s nature to express and develop innate intellectual capacities, integrating all experience into an intricate view of life that includes hopes and fears, loves and hates, beliefs and expectations, and attitudes towards other people and towards himself.
  5. A fundamental problem for any instructor is to avoid interfering with natural processes of comprehension and learning.

At large I keep myself distanced from „the system”, compulsory schooling and its metastases, but I do acknowledge that academia has all these immense treasures and developments. I often peek over the end of my small garden into the big world, in awe, with pleasure, and with a bit of envy, and regret.

(The sixth quote is the title of today’s blog post)