A Need for a New Education: Starting Over
Paul Tatter

Enjoyed your essay and certainly agree current systems are not working well. Many years ago while consulting on a reservation rural Montana I put my young son in an Early Childhood Program. Their model was called art method education and used 32 art methods each week on the 3 to 5 year olds on a grid while dealing with a theme. The theme that week was economics and the art methods were planned from dance, to cut outs, to clay, to finger painting and followed wheat from the field to the bakery to home to cookies.

On my return to town, to switch to another extreme a colleague and I applied this method to a case conference in a psychoanalytic institute. We both had groups of about six post graduate physicians and PhDs. Ordinarily a presenter goes hour by hour thru a psychoanalytic case. In our adaption we said all the students must present a “model” of the case in an art method of their choice. The results were fascinating as each student found an original way from poetry to song to clay mode that stuck close encough to the presented material to cause “wow” experiences for the others. In the opinion of the instructors and students it was a success.

Ironically the show and tell day was when the institute was being site-visited something that occurs about every six years. The site visitors said it was “interesting” but that we were “bypassing the students’ resistance.”

A practical problem with your idea it seems to me is one of how to “control the classroom” when students are doing “freely” a number of different things. I would wonder what happens with the disrupters and those of short attention span. I know from experience they can be engaged one to one but in a free ranging situation what would happen? Perhaps another essay on that?

Thank you,


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