chapter  11
7 Pages

The celebration of thinking

Schools without celebration Celebration has a spirit that is rare in discussions of American schooling. Celebration connotes joy, ceremony, something special in experience. Celebrations are events we look forward to and prize. The celebration of thinking suggests an honoring of, and a joy in, a process we all consider central to education. Yet those of us who work in education today are admonished to get serious, to tighten up, to excise the so-called soft side of school programs. One way to do this is to specify a common curriculum. Another is to prescribe to teachers the steps that should be taken to teach the students in our classrooms. The former solution neglects student idiosyncracy and aptitude differences by assuming that in curricular matters one size fits all. Both Alan Bloom,1 in The Closing of the American Mind, and E. D. Hirsch,2

in Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know, come close to such solutions, the former in the name of intellect, the latter in the name of culture.