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E.M. "Mac" Swengel, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Education
School of Education
United States International University
San Diego, California

  “Under One Roof”
THE BENIGN SCHOOL
by Edwin M. Swengel, Ph.D

5

The main problem with both the traditional education systems and most reform models is that they do not recognize and make realistic provision to meet the widely varying needs of individual children. People get a general view and belief about “human nature” and then they stereotype every child as being enough like every other kid of a similar age to be successfully group-processed through an assembly-line system aimed to turn out a uniform product.

True, nature does endow every child with all the main features of what we call human nature. However, to successfully nurture individual human natures requires clear knowledge of the fact that each child is born uniquely individualized and personalized—an idiosyncratic, only-one-of-its-kind model of generic human nature. Every educational institution from family to the society at large should recognize, acknowledge, and help nurture all its members’ individualities so they blend into and contribute creatively to a cooperative, vibrant society.

No total educational system has ever been designed and operated to develop optimally in all children their richly diverse native gifts. It shouldn’t have required a Harvard psychology professor (Howard Gardner, in league with neuroscientists, who can now look inside the human brain and watch it at work) to announce that human nature is a composite of many different types of intelligence.

People of all cultures the world over developed and learned to speak a language. They then found different ways to record what they could say—to read it, long after it was said. They learned to count and created and used number systems. They sang songs. They danced, not just to go to war but also to express different emotions and beliefs. They invented and played games. They drew pictures on cave walls, made pottery and decorated it, along with decorating their own skin, clothing, and shelters. (What’s new?!)

They made up stories about unseen forces that made their lives pleasant—sunshine and gentle rain, brilliant sunrises and sunsets, starry nights and cool breezes, ever moving and changing clouds. Our forebears also endured threatening forces—diseases, fearful storms, burning sun, icy cold, floods, storm-set fires that consumed field and forest and their homes. These natural forces, benign and malign, seemed almost personal in both alternatively blessing and cursing Earth Folk. Nature’s forces are so mighty and mysterious that our ancestors gave them super-human status and power. They became the benevolent and malevolent gods of legend and myth.

Obviously, if we human beings were not innately endowed with abilities to perform such a wide variety of activities, physical and mental-emotional, we couldn’t do them. No other species is so richly endowed with such vast potential.

Above all else, our ancestors had to learn how to get along with others within their native group—how to share their different talents and skills to assure their own personal survival and well-being, which they could not do individually and alone.

Yes, our forefathers and foremothers also learned to cheat and lie and steal and murder and spread false witness and exploit the weak. But such behaviors threatened both individual and group life. Laws were and still are passed to prevent and punish anti-social behavior. Responsibility to one’s support group requires all members to achieve a fairly even balance between self-interest and concern for others.

The universal basic moral code is the simple quid pro quo: “Don’t treat others as you don’t want them to treat you,” coupled with its positive version: “Treat others as you wish them to treat you.” Most collections of quotations list a dozen or more versions of this millennially field-tested, down-to-earth, common sense Golden Rule.
 

 
  (Continued)

Treatise - Parts:  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12 
 
 

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Copyright © 2010 by E.M Swengel