In no wise are the bodies themselves to be spurned. (…) For these pertain not to ornament or aid which is applied from without, but to the very nature of man.
St.Augustine of Hippo
13th November 354 to 28th August 430
Hippo is present-day Annaba, Algeria
This Friday, the mass in Dahra’s San Francisco church was addressed by Father Daniel who talked about St.Augustine who lived in North Africa in what is today Algeria.
St.Augustine made many interesting contributions in different fields. One of them was education, in which he talked about different approaches to education and the different types of students.
Who has no education
One who has poor education
Augustine is considered an influential figure in the history of education. He introduced the theory of three different categories of students, and instructed teachers to adapt their teaching styles to each student’s individual learning style. The three different kinds of students are: the student who has been well-educated by knowledgeable teachers; the student who has had no education; and the student who has had a poor education, but believes himself to be well-educated. If a student has been well educated in a wide variety of subjects, the teacher must be careful not to repeat what they have already learned, but to challenge the student with material which they do not yet know thoroughly. With the student who has had no education, the teacher must be patient, willing to repeat things until the student understands, and sympathetic. Perhaps the most difficult student, however, is the one with an inferior education who believes he understands something when he does not. Augustine stressed the importance of showing this type of student the difference between “having words and having understanding,” and of helping the student to remain humble with his acquisition of knowledge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo
Present day reality
In present day North Africa education has become an important aspect for expatriate communities caught in the conflicts and revolutions. One veteran summed it up like this-In first year the workers will return, in the second year the families will return, in the third year the teachers will return. The community has gone back by three years.
What type of student are you dealing with? I asked one parent.
My son has enrolled in the virtual school from his home country, one Indian father whose son has enrolled into the Philippino system told.
Do you have any experience in this? Are you living in this region?
If you are we will be interested in learning from you.
Other issues discussed in Mass observation are as follows
Curriculum versus Restrained style?
Another radical idea of St.Augustine was the restrained style of education. This teaching style ensures the students’ full understanding of a concept because the teacher does not bombard the student with too much material; focuses on one topic at a time; helps them discover what they don’t understand, rather than moving on too quickly; anticipates questions; and helps them learn to solve difficulties and find solutions to problems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augustine_of_Hippo
How does one blend the concept of restrained style of education with the pressures of covering different subjects in the curriculum in present day world?
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Father Daniel talked inspiringly on the experiences of St.Augustine of Hippo in the context of the concept of the good shepherd, recalled how the Bishop and other priests stayed behind in Libya during the conflict in 2011.
The seed of love starts with God, the priest told
Doing some reading on the educational concepts of St.Augustine raised some interesting issues.