What a strange adventure! – that is the attitude that needs to be taught to children

Kieran Egan writes: “…all that we know is so fragmentary and insecure that an important part of education is to introduce children to the mystery that surrounds our knowledge we teach needs to be seen against the huge backdrop of the unknown and perhaps unknowable. J. B. S. Haldane said that the universe is not just queerer than we imagined but is queerer than we can imagine. Behind and beyond the known is a sense of mystery that is crucial to the educated mind, and before which it is good to develop the attitude expressed in W. B. Yeats’s ‘Everything we look upon is blest!’ Blest in the sense of wonderful, strange, and knowable in only limited ways. The point of this long meandering paragraph is not to suggest we induce stupor in children’s minds about how pathetically little they can learn, and so encourage them not to bother, but rather to show them how precious and how wonderful is the knowledge that we have, with mysterious ingenuity, carved out of the unknown. What a strange adventure! – that is the attitude that needs to be taught to children who are embarking on it.” (p.62)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Kieran Egan (2008) The Future of Education: Reimagining Our Schools from the Ground Up. Yale University Press: New Haven and London

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About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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