It seems to me that we are all searching the chaff for the kernel
of truth:  where to place blame for how we fail to educate our children.
Throughout this thread, there has been an implicit but unacknowledged
perception that the mind at its beginning is a tabula rosa.  We've
discussed varying facets of a holistic education:  the mind (bad teachers,)
the body (hunger, etc.,) the spirit (family, social factors.) Several
people have "teed off" on esteem issues, which really confused me.  I
paraphrase (or perhaps quote) a source unknown: When the mind orders the
body, it gets compliance; when the mind orders the mind, it meets

        It is humbling to consider the amount of information that babies
and young children process and learn without recourse to a formal
education.  What is it that changes in that child that prevents her/him
from learning?  Despite the offhand dismissal, esteem issues play a very
real part in how the child sees him/herself as a learner.  Believing that
we "can" learn is the first step to learning. We learn until someone tells
us "you can't."  It is here that we begin to question our abilities.
Having a personal "reason" to learn is, I believe, the second step.   We
live in a capitalist society -- dismiss economics?  I think not. Although
economics is only one of many "reasons," our visual society looks for
ostentatious displays of success. What do children in severely impoverished
areas learn?  So, early on, a child learns the motto: If I don't think I
can, or I don't think it's worthwhile, then I won't.

        I remember the first time I was allowed to cross the street in
front of my house -- I was so proud of myself.  I also remember the first
time I crossed the world and time in my imagination through a book, I was
so proud of myself.  Redundant? Perhaps, but all journeys begin at the self
and move outward.  I believed in me and I had a reason, and I don't expect
to stop learning until I'm dead.


Maggie Piccolo, Learning Specialist
Learning Resource Center, Rutgers, The State University
231 Armitage, Camden, New Jersey  08102
(609) 225-6442   [log in to unmask]
Check out our web address: