Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Awakening and Brainwashing Souls

Ever notice a word popping up in most everything you're reading, whether it's a book or an article or a website?

This week mine has been "inculcate". Dictionary definitions lean toward repetition, rote, and even brainwashing. The Online Etymology Dictionary claims that it came into usage in the 1540s, from L. inculcatus, pp. of inculcare "force upon, stamp in," from in- "in" + calcare "to tread, press in," from calx (1) "heel."

Why, yes, I am reading lots of educational theory. But I'm a Religious Educator, and a Unitarian Universalist at that -- I seem to recall our Unitarian forefather William Ellery Channing saying

The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own;
Not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own;
Not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth;
Not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs;
Not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions,
But to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision;
Not to
burden the memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought;
Not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment.
In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish the spiritual life.

It's too bad Channing didn't include lesson plans and materials lists with that. It would make my job so much simpler.

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