Wednesday, January 09, 2008

How to Be a Dunce

Chesterton's case showed how he slunk through the educational system without much notice. One teacher claimed that under his skull was a big white lump of fat. And Gilbert seemed to make some effort at trying to hide his brilliance, trying to stay out of the range of official attention.

I wonder how many kids today are attempting this same path through our educational system.

What happens if they shine? They get put in "Superior Ability" classes and given more work. So why shine?

What happens if they're "getting it"? They are made to tutor other kids or do examples in front of everyone. So why admit you get it?

What happens if they're a good kid? They get made into a "mentor" for a not-so-good kid and have to hang with that person who doesn't want them to be with them. So why be visibly good?

What do teachers do with a student like Chesterton? What could they do? What should they do? Would Chesterton's life turned out better if the educational system had been different? Or, was it ok that he slunk through those years with his face hidden from the English teacher, who might discover his love of words and sounds?


  1. It's always interesting to think about what might have been instead of what was. The largeness of Chesterton's mind would, I think, have landed him in the same places doing the same things and thinking the same way no matter what his formation was. Eventually he would step back and assess his formation, and begin his journey toward greatness.

    The main problem with our school system is that it has little to do with education. Education is more than the aqcuisition of facts, the sole prupose of the schools system of today.

    The ability to instill wisdom is far more important to education than the ability to instill knowledge. Yet most of our system will not recognize the spiritual growth that comes with true education.

  2. I'm not sure there would be much difference.

    The students that shine are encouraged in the ways that you indicated.

    The are encouraged to go to University and actually need to do so many things, such as mentor programs and service projects, in order to compete for addmission spots at the Nation's colleges.

    Students that choose not to participate on that level - - just like GKC would need to find alternative higher education....

    Perhaps a an art school ?? {like Slade}

    GKC choose the road of self-education and self-creation. Rather than allowing his mind to shine and be pushed into a University system.

    There are many folks like that today -- but it is a harder road to travel with fewer successes.

    -- A university education is no guarentee either --

  3. +JMJ+

    I've been an English teacher for almost two years, but that scenario stumps me. I wouldn't know what to do with a student like Chesterton . . . except maybe recommend that she read a lot of Chesterton! =P


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