Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Definition of Education

Eric Wolf is a storyteller whose work can be viewed on

Words are tempting to use and take for granted.   To explore the root of words is too explore their common usage and their hidden meaning.  In the industrial revolution the schools were used to bring a rural and disparate population into the modern industrial world.

Dyslexic individuals have through there inability to function successfully in school settings demonstrated the hidden agenda of schools.  Modern schools are creating a uniform and generic cultural norm that is useful to a government that seems more interested in creating a population that is willing to follow orders then create solutions.  Dyslexic students are revolutionaries not because they want to be – but because they must be to survive.

I have written here before on the importance of growing children who maintain there ability to be creative in the 21st century where creativity is the coin of the realm.  But first let us exam in what the current idea of education is based on.  Here is the current uusage fo the word education on…

Usage: Education, properly a drawing forth, implies not so much the communication of knowledge as the discipline of the intellect, the establishment of the principles, and the regulation of the heart. Instruction is that part of education which furnishes the mind with knowledge. Teaching is the same, being simply more familiar. It is also applied to practice; as, teaching to speak a language; teaching a dog to do tricks. Training is a department of education in which the chief element is exercise or practice for the purpose of imparting facility in any physical or mental operation. Breeding commonly relates to the manners and outward conduct.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.  (Bold is by me.)


If education is about tempering the heart and ruling the emotions of the individual… if education is about getting the mind in top shape at the expense of every other aspect of the soul’s journey through life, from the emotional maturity of the students, to the flexibility of the body then perhaps it is time we admitted that the current model – the current ideal of education is completely off the track for what we want for our children.

How do we build a world where education is no longer seen as what is done to you, but instead education is what a student does to themselves because there desire and hunger for knowledge is so great.  If point of Education is temper the passions of the heart and the creativity of the soul.  Then perhaps it is time time less children were educated - the world may indeed improve.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What we owe to the Wheelchair.

Eric Wolf is a Storyteller and you can read more about his work at

It is tempting to think that Dyslexic students are not handicapped. After all they don’t look any different then other students in the public schools. So it is natural to just think of them as kids who need more time to do their homework. That is if we forget the lesson of the wheelchair.

A wheelchair is obvious and the steps in front of the building are just as obvious. If there is no elevator or ramps to gain access to a building - then by definition the building is not accessible to the handicapped. There are still a disturbing number of building that are not accessible to a wheelchair bound person in America today and this lack of access is physically defined and powerfully self-evident.

Dyslexic students also need help getting past own set of “steps”. They need help making school accessible if they are to participate. This is true whether or not you can see the steps that block them from successfully accessing the public school system.

For some students that may mean having a teacher’s assistant in the classroom to help them with their reading assignment. For other students that may mean allowing the dyslexic student more time to read or perhaps giving them a shorter spelling list for spelling tests. For other students them may mean not posting the results of test in a public setting or having grades define the classroom experience of the student.

Of course it is critical that dyslexic students and all learning disabled students be treated as mainstream students and allowed access to regular recess and nonacademic activities. How many parents have been told – you son or daughter is dyslexic so we held hum back form recess to give them more reading lessons? Would we hold back a semi-blind child to study reading as well during recess? How about short child to grow faster?

The lesson of the Wheelchair is that handicapped access is structurally a part of modern society and that when access is not provided the barrier of the student to participate successfully in the activity is defined before the event starts. Thus the success or failure of dyslexic student in a school setting has more to do with the school then the student.