Coda: on respect and freedom in modern education (L:HtR/UtW)

Screen Shot 2020-03-18 at 10.18.53 AMWritten for lovers of literature interested in self-actualization, Literature: How to Read and Understand the World teaches readers how to derive principles of wisdom from literature and apply them to their lives. The book achieves this through a series of five essential steps, including identifying with literary characters, aggregating principles of wisdom from their experience, and applying those principles to readers’ lives. Along the way, the author reveals his own transformation through this process. Literature: How to Read and Understand the World will help you to enrich your life and world!

This will be the final excerpt of the book I release in this sequence. Over the past several months, I have released weekly excerpts detailing the five essential steps with probing questions to get readers thinking on the matters more deeply. If you are intrigued by what you have read here, please visit my blog for older excerpts or share with a friend!

Can you imagine a world in which students wake up, and given other choices, choose to go to school? This would be a world in which the ubiquitous distinction between work and play has disappeared, and instead what engages students in school is “work-play,” that authentic and inventive seeking out of what they want to learn, produce, and at a rate and with a facilitator that are right for them. I purposely use the word “facilitator” in place of “teacher” in the last sentence: in this conception of education, teachers would guide students to find, learn, and produce what’s relevant to and desired by those students, not impose teachers’ own standards. As such, teachers would honor student freedom. In such a world, I daresay the Story of Perfection that I incurred in my youth would have been obsolesced: students would learn to love themselves through acceptance of their desire to explore themselves, and as a result they would naturalize their desire to give back, to map out their communities in the way we want to upon completing our course in literature. In this world, the struggle that has been my life—and that I know so many others have traversed their own versions of, to lesser and greater degrees—would be relegated to the past.

May such a world come, and this work serve as a prayer to those in education and other fields working to bring it about. I know many who share this vision either in their hearts, practice, or both, and perhaps you are another. May you find courage, vision, and where you need it, faith. May it be so. Amen.

Have you ever asked yourself why education seems to pose a tension between what we want to do, and what we have to do? Have you ever wondered if there could be a form of education in which this tension would be resolved? What would that look like? Is it foolish to strive for it? Noble? Are there regions in which an alternative form of education is already active? If so, why is this only the truth in some places? For more on these topics, please follow my blog or grab a copy of the book for yourself.

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