Letter: 1947 teaching methods are relevant today

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To the editor:

Thank you, Berkshire Eagle for printing the story from May 20, 1947 about Crane School's teaching method. Parents are being teachers at home during this pandemic and they could use this approach now to survive and thrive with their children:

"You first find the problem, help the children cultivate habits of correction, and thus elicit proper attitudes and appreciation." The teacher waits for a problem to arise, something affecting the needs and interests of the child. In this way the child is given information about a problem which is immediate, and for which he is in a receptive frame of mind. The children discuss the problem and attempt to solve it with the aid of information they have collected themselves. In this way, through the child's initiative and activity, he develops habits and skills which serve him well.

"We have knowledge we wish to impart but we want them to acquire it rather than have it thrust upon them," says Miss Coffey. Past methods of teaching were too cut and dried. "The teacher must have well-rounded information to elicit constructive attitudes and appreciations from the child."

I talked with a parent outside the grocery store, six feet away and behind my mask, about her frustration trying to make her child do her school work (a workbook with multiple subjects), which the child flatly has refused to do. The work is too "cut and dried."

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Another parent I know is using this pandemic period as an opportunity to get to know her children more deeply and wants them to acquire knowledge with the wisdom to apply it "rather than have it thrust upon them." Their family is getting stronger and more loving in the process.

Parents, check the internet for support with homeschooling and unschooling. One of my favorite resources is a book by my friend, Alison McKee, "Homeschooling Our Children Unschooling Ourselves."

May everyone experience the freedom to be your true self, in all its glory!

Vicky Smith, Ed.D.,



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