Archive for February, 2012

Movin’ On Up!

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I’m happy to announce that my literary magazine, Killing the Angel, now has its own website.  Check out for information regarding who we are and what we’re seeking in terms of submissions.

Transcendental Teachers

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Everyone knows Louisa May Alcott, author of the classic Little Women, but fewer people might know her father, Amos Bronson Alcott.  Alcott was a teacher, friend of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and major figure in the American transcendentalism movement.  Of her father, Louisa May Alcott once wrote:  ”My father taught me in the wise way which unfolds what lies in the child’s nature, as a flower blooms, rather than crammed it, like a Strasbourg goose, with more than it could digest.”

It’s a beautiful image, albeit a tad idealistic; apparently, the Alcotts had to move more than twenty times in thirty years because of this unpopular philosophy.  I can’t help but compare that to John Keating in Dead Poets Society, the free-thinking teacher who is (spoiler alert!) fired at the end of the film for his nonconformist teaching style.  It’d be interesting to hear what former students of Alcott said about him in their later years. Were his freer, less traditional methods more effective than the more structured philosophies of his peers?  A fellow writer once told me a story of how she had a writing teacher whose advice entailed telling her writing students to quit their day jobs and become truckers.  Is becoming a trucker really necessary for becoming a writer?  No–the teacher was simply coming at the question of creativity from a specific, personal perspective.  Not all teaching philosophies will click with all students.

I’m in agreement with at least one of Alcott’s ideas:  the idea that teachers tap into something the student already possesses.  I like the idea of learning as an appeal to something inherent in the learner, for the only conclusion we can draw from such a philosophy is that we are all capable of learning.