All posts filed under: Mental Labor

Narration According to G. F. Husband by Carroll Smith

Over the next several weeks I want to write blogs on narration.  Narration is supposedly that simple little pedagogical tool that Mason used and that she called the act of knowing. Some educators wonder what all the fuss is about.  Narration simply cannot do what she claimed. I hope to convince otherwise through these blogs. I intend to start this series by looking into the past a bit in hopes that this will give us some grounding into why narration is important.  There are many reasons and this blog will show a few of those reasons.  To look back I begin with an article written by G. F. Husband in the Parents Review in 1924 soon after the death of Mason (1923). In this article Husband (1924) begins his discussion of narration by bringing the reader’s attention to a comment made by one of “His Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools” who said, “The art of questioning is the whole art of teaching and if you persist with Narration methods your teachers will lose the ability to question.  You must …

The Due Use of Books by Dr. Jennifer Spencer

The importance of reading is widely acknowledged.  It increases vocabulary and oral language skills.  It builds background knowledge that can help give context to new information.  It can even help acculturate new members into existing cultures. One benefit that is often overlooked, however, is reading’s effect on writing. Like many who choose to implement this philosophy, I wrestled for many years with Mason’s assertion that, ‘Composition’ comes by Nature.––In fact, lessons on ‘composition’ should follow the model of that famous essay on “Snakes in Ireland”––”There are none.” For children under nine, the question of composition resolves itself into that of narration, varied by some such simple exercise as to write a part and narrate a part, or write the whole account of a walk they have taken, a lesson they have studied, or of some simple matter that they know. Before they are ten, children who have been in the habit of using books will write good, vigorous English with ease and freedom; that is, if they have not been hampered by instructions. It is …

Knowledge by Dr. John Thorley

‘Knowledge . . . is the product of the vital action of the mind on the material presented to it’ (CM, School Education, 224) Once again I am writing this blog just a day or two after returning from Greece, where each July for many years now I have had the pleasure (and it really is a pleasure when you have enthusiastic students) of teaching Homer in his original Greek to an international group of students from all over Europe. I now have the help of a Greek teacher, Antony Makrinos, who actually works at London University. This year we all read parts of Iliad book 6. From the whole Iliad this is the one book where for a while Homer pauses from the war raging on the plain of Troy, and he describes Hector’s return to the city to see his mother Hecabe, his brother Paris with his wife Helen, and his own wife Andromache and his little son Astyanax. Now all Homer is great stuff, but I didn’t fancy a whole week and …