So, this article got me thinking about pedagogy, and what I don’t go in for
I read Pinocchio a few years ago (curious why some stories are bigger than their authors and some authors are bigger than their stories). Well, anyhow, there’s a great scene in it where a poor carpenter tries to bend the piece of wood, which becomes Pinocchio, to his will with frustrating results, and then a master carpenter who doesn’t try to go ‘against the grain,’ but works with the wood to fine results.
I think the content of instruction really does matter, and I do think that students have an individual latent character you can’t break- or shouldn’t want to- but also a universal latent desire for the good that can be easily misguided, and the student needs a humble but passionate teacher to guard against the way our fallen world can misguide our desires.
I’ve heard many different sorts of analogies (the palimpsest is interesting); what is important, though, is that teachers (that’s you) don’t lose sight of either the individual character or the universal desire to play a part in, even conform with, the larger truth and beauty (wisdom is knowing the difference between a shallow status grubbing conformity and a deeper, richer spiritual conformity). So, I’m inclined to think something important is missing from the blank slate model where you just fill a student with rules and strategies as well as the opposite model where you’re afraid to have any effect at all.