Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Poem: "The Conditions in Which They Can Learn"

This is the freebie for today's fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] redsixwing and LJ user Rix_scaedu. It also fills the "mentors" square in my 4-19-16 card for the [community profile] genprompt_bingo fest. This poem belongs to the series An Army of One.


"The Conditions in Which They Can Learn"


Darmid had a funny way of teaching.

He didn't make a classroom
and sit the children at desks.

He just let them wander around
the public parts of Sargasso Base
and followed them to keep them safe.

"Let's find something to learn!"
he would say as they went along.
"What looks interesting today?"

If the children demanded food,
Darmid would talk about nutrition
and cooking and how to produce
food on a space station. He
showed them the yeast-beast
and the algae-whiz and let them
watch Afshar making yogurt.

If the children wandered into
a storeroom and started stacking
bits and boxes of forgotten junk,
Darmid talked about dexterity
and physics and showed them
how to make taller towers.

If the children wanted to run and climb,
Darmid took them to an empty room
and let them wear themselves out.
He told them about sports and games
and something called yoga.

But the main reason they loved him
was because he never got tired
of hearing them ask "Why?"

Even if he didn't know the answer,
he would grin and clap his hands and
say, "I have no idea! Let's find out!"


"How can you teach the children
anything like this?" Bottleneck asked,
secretly envious because his own memories
of school were more frustrating and less engaging.

"I don't teach my students anything," Darmid said.
"I just provide the conditions in which they can learn."

* * *

Notes:

"I never teach my pupils, I only provide the conditions in which they can learn."
-- Albert Einstein

Unschooling is a type of student-led learning. It works great with autistic and other gifted children for whom a standardized classroom may not support effective learning. The vast majority of unschooled people are pleased with the results and their life accomplishments. Learn how to unschool yourself and your children.

Autistic children are viewed as a "problem" by the conventional school system and therapists fixated on normalization. It is often more productive to consider their actual needs and strengths when teaching autistic children.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, education, fishbowl, poem, poetry, reading, science fiction, weblit, writing
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