Educator Support

King Alfred's Castle Ruins

Perhaps the chief function of a teacher is to distinguish information from knowledge in the acquisitions of his pupils. Because knowledge is power, the child who has got knowledge will certainly show power in dealing with it. He will recast, condense, illustrate or narrate with vividness and with freedom in the arrangement of his words. The child who has only got information will write and speak in the stereotyped phrases of his textbook, or will mangle in his notes the words of his teacher. 

It is easier for us to deal in this direct fashion with knowledge because we are not embarrassed by the necessity of cultivating faculties; for working purposes the so-called faculties are sufficiently described as mind; and the normal mind is, we find, as able to deal with knowledge as are the normal digestive organs with food. Our concern is to give a child such knowledge as shall open up for him as large a share as may be of the world he lives in for his use and enjoyment.

I think that it is a joyful thing to be said about anybody, that he loves knowledge; there are so many interesting and delightful things to be known that the person who loves knowledge cannot very well be dull; indoors and out of doors there are a thousand interesting things to know and to know better. There is a saying of King Alfred's that I like to apply to our school- 'I have found a door,' he says. That is just what I hope your school is to you- a door opening into a great palace of art and knowledge... But you will remember the school is only a 'door' to let you in to the goodly House of Knowledge, but I hope you will go in and out and live there all your lives-in one pleasant chamber or another, for the rich people are they who have the entry to this goodly house, and who never let King Alfred's 'door" rest on its hinges, no, not all through their lives, even when they are very old people.  Charlotte Mason, The Story of Charlotte Mason (245 and 96-97).

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