Practical Theory - The Origin
The Scholars in CyberEnglish
ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

bronson alcott's maxims

alcott wrote or is attributed to writing 58 maxims about education. these maxims are the product of his work as a teacher and philosopher.

the maxims are inspirational and just as they were forward thinking and relevant in 1827, they are still relevant today. in fact they precede horace mann's important 12th report by 20 years. as i read through these maxims, i am struck by how important they still are. the one that really struck me is the 58th maxim: "To teach, with Independence." the preceding 57 each have their importance and place, but the last one intrigues me. what does it mean "to teach with independence"? as i read this maxim, i hear that i should teach with abandon, not reckless abandon, but with abandon. i should teach with independence of mind, independent of rules enforced by outsiders, with independence of our limits. essentially we must declare our independence, that is to shuck our dependence on the artificial structure forced on us, to be free of the artificial and commercial standards forced on us, to be real and not false. one very real proof of this lack of independence is censorship. another indicator of the lack of independence is the presence of filters on the schools' internet access. in a country build on democracy and the pursuit of freedom, we are an enigma and a contradiction. "do as i say and not as i do" comes to mind.

this maxim is akin to how i view CyberEnglish and now CyberSchool. a cyber class or school is independent, it is the epitome of Independence. now as view the other maxims, i see how they apply to cyber school. i wonder how alcott would view cyber school. i think he would embrace it as that is what he was doing in 1827.


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