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The Ten Commandments of Education
February 12, 2003

"When children feel good about themselves, it's like a snowball rolling downhill. They are continually able to recognize and integrate new proof of their value as they grow and mature."
‚Ä"Stephanie Marston


In an article on the Phi Delta Kappan web site, David B. Ackerman syntheses the traditional and progressive views of education into his "10 Commandments of Education:"

The Traditional Tablet
The traditionalist insists, rightly, that a developing mind deserves not intellectual junk food but the most nourishing repast we know how to serve. The traditionalist draws our attention to hierarchies of curricular importance and academic competence; the focus of instruction is on mastery of material that can ennoble a student rather than on concern for the frustration students may feel when their efforts fall short. A set of traditionalist commandments would include the following five.

1. Thou shalt teach that which is of deepest value;
2. Thou shalt teach with rigor;
3. Thou shalt uphold standards of excellence;
4. Thou shalt not kill time;
5. Remember the disciplines and keep them holy (even though they are partial);

The Progressive Tablet
The progressive educator insists, rightly, that adroitness in accommodating, both psychologically and intellectually, what the student brings to the classroom is at least as important as wise selection of the most sublime material. Each student embodies a unique sensibility formed by years of interaction between genetic endowment and life experience.

6. Remember that children are whole people, not deficient adults;
7. Thou shalt not try to make one standard fit all;
8. Thou shalt not treat the mind of a child as though it were a receptacle;
9. Honor what children bring to the text; and
10. Thou shalt honor the student's search for holistic knowledge.

To view Ackerman's complete article, go to:  http://www.pdkintl.org/kappan/k0301ack.htm

For some thoughtful commentary on the hallmarks of quality in early childhood programs, check out Places for Childhoods: Marking Quality Happen in the Real World by Jim Greenman in the Exchange Bookstore at www.ChildCareExchange.com.


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