“Ms. Taylor wanted to impart knowledge, the sort of stuff that shows up on tests. But within weeks, students forget 90 percent of the knowledge they learn in class anyway. The only point of being a teacher is to do more then impart facts; it’s to shape the way students perceive the world, to help a student absorb the rules of a discipline. The teachers who do that get remembered.
“She didn’t so much teach them as apprentice them. Much unconscious learning is done through imitation. She exhibited a way of thinking through a problem and then hoped her students participated along with her.
“She forced them to make mistakes. The pain of getting things wrong and the effort required to overcome error creates an emotional experience that helps burn things into the mind.
“She tried to get students to interrogate their own unconscious opinions. Making up your mind, she believed, is not like building a wall. It’s more a process of discovering the idea that already exists unconsciously. She wanted kids to try on different intellectual costumes to see what fit.
“She also forced them to work. For all her sentimentality, she did not believe in the notion that students should just follow their natural curiosity. She gave them homework assignments they did not want to do. She gave them frequent tests, intuitively sensing that the act of retrieving knowledge for a test strengthens the relevant networks in the brain. She was willing to be hated.
“Ms. Taylor’s goal was to turn her students into autodidacts. She hoped to give her students a taste of the emotional and sensual pleasure discovery brings – the jolt of pleasure you get when you work hard, suffer a bit, and then something clicks. She hoped her students would become addicted to this process. They would become, thanks to her, self-teachers for the rest of their days. That was the grandiosity with which Ms. Taylor conceived of her craft.”
Brooks, D. (2011). The social animal: The hidden sources of love, character, and achievement (pp. 82-83). New York, NY: Random House, Inc.
Martin Luther King, Jr. advanced racial equality, elimination of poverty, and reversal of a militaristic state through nonviolent civil disobedience. This moral means towards moral ends requires us to realize our intimate interrelatedness, and to love each human being regardless of our physical appearance, the institutions of which we are a part, what someone believes, how we behave, or any other attribute which propagates an “us” versus “them.” How can you love the person when you hate the deed? In honor of this persistent and urgent philosophy, here are King’s own words on the issue from a 1963 speech at the Western Michigan University. Consider the political and sociological intentions, as well as the possible personal and clinical applications, of this call to action.
“Bear in mind that we all are teachers, we all are students, and that to ‘Transfer’ is the process of moving an object, symbol, or idea from one closed system to another, when the two systems contain similar aspects or some similar relationship, yet retaining a similar meaning” (Madsen & Moore, 1978, p. 5).
Madsen, C. K. & Moore, R. S. (1978). Experimental Research in Music: Workbook in Design and Statistical Tests. Raleigh, NC: Contemporary Publishing Company of Raleigh, Inc.
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Quote attributed to Carl Sagan
“Music unfolds only in time” (Thaut, 2008, p. 3). “Rhythmic structure allows for better perceptual gestalts to emerge, minimizing conflict and difficulty in perception, such as being confronted with stimuli that are hard to distinguish… Rhythm as temporal ordering process—especially in its narrower sense as cyclical, periodic phenomenon—creates anticipation and predictability. Prediction and anticipation are key terms in certain theories of emotion and meaning… Rhythms can form shape and memory” (pp. 5-6). “Exposure, learning, and training shape and develop the complexity of the neuronal architecture, the wiring scheme of the brain, into a more and more diverse and efficient executive system. Music can play an interesting dual role in this process; on the one hand, it is a part of the basic biological blueprint of the brain and, on the other hand, it is a strong environmental sensory stimulus able to influence changes in the brain. If we return briefly to the importance of temporal regulation for all our higher cognitive and motor functions, we may have very good reason to believe that rhythm in music, the element of temporal order, has a unique and profound influence on our perceptual processes related to cognition, affect, and motor function. Rhythm may enhance our brain operations through providing structure and anticipation in time. Rhythm may be one of the central processors to optimize our gestalt formation in the basic processes of learning and perception” (pp. 16-17).
Thaut, M.H. (2008). Rhythm, music, and the brain: Scientific foundations and clinical applications. New York, NY: Routledge.