Among the useful arts, only three are cooperative arts. All the rest are productive. The three cooperative arts are farming, healing, and teaching – Mortimer Adler.
The wise old Socrates compared his own style of teaching with the work of the midwife: the mother, not the midwife, goes through the pains of childbirth to deliver her child. The midwife only helps with the process – helping the mother in her efforts to make childbirth a little easier.
I (home)school two teenage boys who are not my own. Therefore, according to Adler I must be a midwife. But often I feel more like the mother: pangs of labour pain the schoolroom. (Does this make grammatical sense?) I understand too well that the principal cause of the learning that occurs in a student is the activity of the student’s own mind. But how to step in (patiently) as a cooperative midwife – in the form of teaching by questioning and discussion – remains a patience to be learned! Especially if the students follow a paced curriculum. (I have no other choice). Some days I sit for 20-30 minutes: probing, waiting for an answer (I ask Socratic questions in an effort to breathe some substance into the PACE pace). I wait patiently. I get the answer. Is this the way to go about?
Those of you in the midwife, I mean teaching business – how do you go about teaching? Do you have specific tools and resources to help you? Do you agree with the above-mentioned quote?
According to Adler, only adults can be educated. So there is still hope for me!