The teacher’s daily job is to raise the dead

“Knowledge is preserved in dead codes – dessicated symbols in books – and the teacher’s daily job is to raise the dead, to bring the codes back to life in new minds.”
~ Kieran Egan
(p.109, An Imaginative Approach)

“Knowledge is not symbols – symbols are just reminders of knowledge: hints, pointers. Knowledge is a function of the living tissue of our living brains.
Obvious as this point is, I think we often forget it. We can easily forget that learning the symbols in which knowledge is encoded is no guarantee at all of knowing. All knowledge is human knowledge; it is a product of human hopes and fears and passions. The primary trick in bringing knowledge to life from the codes in which we store it is through the emotions that gave it life in the first place in some other mind. Knowledge, again, is part of living human tissue; [-p.97] books and libraries contain only dessicated codes. The business of education is enabling new minds to bring old knowledge to new life and meaning.” (pp.96-97)

“The educational trick is to show knowledge as the product of human beings’ ingenuity, energy, passions, hopes, fears, and so on. People like us made it, invented it, discovered it, formulated it for human purposes, with human motives.” (p.97)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold mine) Kieran Egan (c2005) An Imaginative Approach to Teaching. Jossey-Bass: San Fransisco


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!
This entry was posted in Metaphors and Narratives around children and learners, Understanding literacy and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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