Friday, May 21, 2010

Learning and Teaching, chapter XIII, conclusion

Sheridan and White conclude the chapter on 'Getting and Holding Attention' with the following:

Attention follows interest. Holding the attention is not a problem for the teacher of an interested class. but for emphasis it must be repeated: The interest, to be worth anything, must be interest in the lesson itself because the pupil feels that it has some relation to his own life.

Gregory addresses this idea in the chapter 'The Law of the Lesson' (Seven Laws of Teaching):

There are some who go so far as to say that no attempt should be made to impart knowledge unless the child feels a distinct need for it--unless he sees that it is essential to solve some problem that is real and vital to his life. This is doubtless an extreme view, but it is none the less incumbent upon the teacher to know what the problems of child life are and to utilize them in making his instruction just as rich and meaningful as possible.

Excellent teaching draws upon the interests and problems of students, not to determine what is learned or how, but to reveal possible connections that will attract the interest. Where this is done getting attention and keeping it take care of themselves.


  1. Thanks, Bryan, for taking the plunge (or at least allowing yourself to be pushed!) and going public. This is helpful.

  2. Attention certainly follows interest, but what do we mean and practice by thinking about "some relation to his life"? This is of utmost importance. Is not the kind of interest the key? The wrong kind can subvert the very purposes of a Christ-centered classical education.

    Do we want to create interest in the lesson for...a grade? to achieve a reputation of knowing? to be another step in the process of finding what "I want to do, so I can in turn be happy" all with a materialistic self-centered autonomous man paradigm?

    For me, we must constantly press into, hold up, and interest students in encountering the living God. The Good, True, and Beautiful God in the Incarnate Lord. They have to be captured by a vision that God is real and can be known through studying the good, true, and beautiful things His image bearers have made, or by contemplating creation itself. It is this vision that must drive the lesson and hence the interest. For only then can knowledge be properly ordered in life, for what good is knowledge apart from God?

    from NIck...(I'm Athanasius)...oh and nice work with the blog!