CCSS & Testing: A Much Too Willful Will? (#251)



A Year in the Life: Ambient Math Wins the Race to the Top!
Day 251

For one year, 365 days, this blog will address the Common Core Standards from the perspective of creating an alternate, ambient learning environment for math. Ambient is defined as “existing or present on all sides, an all-encompassing atmosphere.”

And ambient music is defined as: “Quiet and relaxing with melodies that repeat many times.” Why ambient? A math teaching style that’s whole and all encompassing, with themes that repeat many times through the years, is most likely to be effective and successful. 

The Art of Learning, a favorite education page on Facebook, posted this quote by Eugene Herrigel, Zen and the Art of Archery:

“The right art,” said the Master, “is purposeless, aimless! The more obstinately you try to learn how to shoot the arrow for the sake of hitting the goal, the less you will succeed in the one and the further the other will recede. What stands in your way is that you have a much too willful will. You think that what you do not do yourself does not happen.”

“Don’t think of what you have to do, don’t consider how to carry it out!” he exclaimed. “The shot will only go smoothly when it takes the archer himself by surprise.”

“The right shot at the right moment does not come because you do not let go of yourself. You brace yourself for failure. So long as that is so, you have no choice but to call forth something yourself that ought to happen independently of you, and so long as you call it forth your hand will not open in the right way– like the hand of a child.”

“This, then, is what counts: a lightning reaction which has no further need of conscious observation. In this respect at least the pupil makes himself independent of all conscious purpose… The man, the art, the work–it is all one.”

This is the spirit in which Math By Hand was created.  Creation is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.  True.  But that mere 1% is so essential!  Too often these days, we push the envelope with too much deliberate effort, without waiting for or allowing that essential inspiration to enliven our efforts.  The current environment in schools and education could be seen as too much will with no heart.  Relentless drill and testing does not a true education make.

The two images below are from the Math By Hand Grade 4 binder, and are excellent examples of how the Waldorf approach does not tackle education head-on with a single-minded focus on facts and information, but allows the free spirit of inquiry and curiosity to take the lead.  The first is a braided form drawing, calling for focused concentration on over-under weaving.  The second is a whimsical birthday portrait of the most revolutionary, resisted character in the history of numbers, Zero.



0s bday-jpeg
Knowledge ensues in an environment dedicated to imaginative, creative knowing, where student and teacher alike surrender to the ensuing of knowledge as a worthy goal. Tune in tomorrow for more Grade 4 math CCSS and their ambient counterparts.

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