Philosophy of Education
Finally, read Philosophy of Education pp.218-223. Make some notes on how books and things work together through the forms to result in a wide curriculum fitting children for life.
We have seen in our cursory review of Mason’s writings that she puts forward new ideas in science education seeking to remedy some of the issues she has seen. We will follow this theme more fully later in this course. For now, let’s take note of some recognized difficulties in science education of her day. Think back through the pages you have just read and start a list of any that come to mind. For example, a narrow science curriculum without any field/lab work is certainly discussed many times as lamentable in the schools. This is broadened to include the culture as a whole not valuing the role of the naturalist as seen in Parents and Children p.261.
Thinking back to our history of science education in England at the start of the course, in Formation of Character pp.394-395 (scroll down to the correct pages) and School Education pp. 232-233 Mason spends a good deal of time talking about an education based on facts alone. Recall the description of teaching methods that required the student to memorize the information and repeat it verbatim on the test. Reflect on your own education. In what way has this been or not been your experience and what attitudes do you currently hold about nature study and science because of it?
In Philosophy of Education pp. 317-318 Mason points out an essential element to bring a living (science) education to our students. Define wonder in your own words based on Mason’s description here and pulling from any of the other readings. How is it seen in the Outdoor Life of the child that you read about in Home Education? Can you see it in the form 1 book you read or in the sample selections? How is it to be had from the teacher’s perspective? From the student’s? Rate your level of wonder about science. How do you account for that rating?