Month: February 2008

Some Final Words for this Week by Carroll Smith

Before we post the next blog that will be online for next week, I wanted to thank all of you who have commented and to encourage you to continue to do so. It is truly important that we dialogue continuously about Mason’s philosophy and daily practice of her philosophy in order to “work it out.”In this present conversation we must remember that one would not dump all “physical” instruction. Laurie, I think you have hit on something, that is, at the training level (colleges, etc.) we must work toward shifting the paradigm. What will help with this shift are schools and home schools that are doing their best to practice Mason—remembering that it isn’t possible to be pure Mason, but even with this, there still is no reason we cannot move a long way toward her ideas. When others begin to see what her education creates in children, then the paradigm shift will gain momentum. But this requires those of us who are practitioners to be studious, conscientious, dedicated, open and inviting. We must welcome …

On the Appropriate Use of Manipulatives, Projects and Other Hands-on Learning Methods in a Mason Context

  In many educational programs today there is a lot of use of “hands-on,” “project based,” or “problem solving” instruction (I refer to these as “physical” instructional practices). In this blog I want to share with you my initial, yet incomplete thoughts on the appropriate use, within a Mason context, of these “physical” instructional methods. Please know this is a beginning discussion whose conversation will need to be finished later, perhaps in the CM Educational Review.    Across educational settings of public, private, and home schools, there is a prevalence of these “physical” practices.  In some schools long and extended projects are assigned as a means for students to learn content in a more active and participatory way.  Current research indicates that manipulatives in mathematics help children conceptualise hard-to-understand concepts.  Handwriting is certainly active learning. There is Dinah Zike’s system of folding a sheet of paper into a graphic organizer called Foldables.  This system provides a means for children from elementary through high school to organise content in social studies.  It can be applied to …