The first question to be answered was,
“What organization did Martin Luther challenge?”One of the students said she could not find the answer. I asked her to read me the question and then asked her to read me the first sentence on the page in the book. It reads,
“In 1517 a young monk named Martin Luther challenged the Roman Catholic Church.”She read it and gave me a blank look. I told her to read me the question again and had her read me the sentence again. Another blank look. We repeated this many times. Finally she said, “Oh,” and answered the question.
What suddenly happened? She had no trouble reading me the question or the answer. She is not a special education student. She is a pleasant young lady with a good personality and fine social skills. What she was not willing to do was engage her brain.
As I am reading through Augustine’s Confessions I see that he testifies to a similar problem.
“Next I was put to school to get learning, in which I (poor wretch) knew not what use there was;...” Kindle Highlight Loc. 211 from Gutenberg Project TextUntil students see a reason to turn on their ability they will continue to coast along being socially promoted, ignorant and unskilled. Some will wake up in time and pull out. Others will be helpless in a complex society because they were allowed to face no consequences in life.
This young lady was not unusual. I had time to convince her that she would be reading that cycle of words until she answered it. She finally gave up and took the path of least resistance. I don’t always have that amount of time. Some people think everything can be made fun. It can't. Some people think the teacher is supposed to find a way to trick them into wanting to learn. Life won't do that for them. The student needs to accept that they are responsible for their own lives.
There are answers to the problems in education but they are inconvenient. One of the big answers is the lesson of cause and effect. Children need to learn that their decisions and actions have consequences.
homo unius libri