Reading this book was such a joy. It seems to address and solve so many of the issues my current school is facing now. I work primarily with students whose families have recently immigrated to the United States. This school I work for is inner-city and very poor (90% free and reduced lunch). Many of the issues facing Patri in 1917 in New York are issues I am confronted every day with a similar population distanced only by time. Patri's 1917 school is my 2011 school with a few notable exceptions. Primarily, the introduction of new technologies and the fact that in Patri's time scientific management was a new idea and today it has acquired a multi-generational foothold (or stranglehold) on our school system. Either way, so much of what Patri writes about in this book can apply to my current situation.
"A boy, especially a boy who has been master in the street and in the home and would be master in the school, will not risk being humiliated before his classmates. Just as long as his offense is an offense against the teacher it is an heroic offense, but when it is an offense against the group, the heroism disappears." Patri
Sound classroom management advice.
"The average parent thinks of education largely in terms of books. The poorer the people are the more apt they are to overvalue the traditional work of the school. The school is the place to learn from books and the children must not waste time doing anything else." Patri
I find this insight both fascinating and dreadfully accurate in diagnosing why the further down in the socioeconomic trenches one goes the more traditional school looks. When we started our school year our school director told us that, "If you don't assign homework everyday our parents will think you are a bad teacher." To me this echoes Patri's observation. This also helps explain the enthusiasm inner-city poor and working class families have for schools like KIPP and Mastery.
Consider the difference between these two approaches:
In which classroom environment do students learn more deeply? In which one do the students find what they learn more relevant? Which one is more likely to be seen in a school serving poor children? Which one is more likely to be seen in a school serving privileged children?
@anderscj Can you tell me where that quote came from? I can't seem to find it online.
@betchaboy Angelo Patri (1917) A Schoolmaster of the Great City
"Inadequate, isolated homes, forever closing their doors and forever begging us to come in!" Patri
"Unless the people knew about and shared in the education of their children the schools would be inefficient." Patri
This is great! Invite parents to come and take part in the school. This is the key to moving schools into the future, especially those in poor neighborhoods. Having the community involved means they are also receiving an indirect education, one which will make them more likely to want for their children what the children of the wealthy schools have.
People want to give. People want to be helpful. We just have to ask.
"The teacher had the idea. The parents were interested in their own children first. That was the place to begin." Patri
"No member of the local school board had a child attending our school! Small wonder they did not understand the parents' requests." Patri
"Socializing the school means humanizing the teacher." Patri
"the group realized that united strength could achieve results even in the face of powerful opposition." Patri
@anderscj what year is that reading from again? Very interesting!
"What we needed to satisfy our play instincts was leadership and open spaces." Patri
"There is no bondage so deadly as that which prohibits intellectual liberty." Patri
"They forget most of the knowledge given them. What they need is the habit of free thinking and the spirit of work." Patri
"If the school means arrested development for the child it means arrested development for the teacher." Patri