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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Concord Review

Did you all see the article about Will Fitzhugh and the Concord Review in the Times this weekend? http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/08/education/08research.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=education Mr. Fitzhugh contacted me some years ago about his journal — which publishes original research papers written by high school students.  As the article explains, he is a former teacher who realized students could do much better work in research and writing history if pushed.  ”Researching a history paper, he said, is not just about accumulating facts, but about developing a sense of historical context, synthesizing findings into new ideas, and wrestling with how to communicate them clearly.” I could not agree more. And from what I have seen in the Review (the article says it is now only only attcr.org) he is right. High School students can think, question, research, and write — fi was ask them to and show them how.

On our second to last day in India Sasha visiting the school at the American Embassy — we were invited by Monika Schroeder — elementary school librarian there, YA author whose books many of you may know here. We learned that the school does not give any homework. Instead, students are required to ask their own questions and create their own projects, which they then present in class. Anyone holding an American passport in Delhi can get his or her kids into the school — so while some of the students surely come from wealthy and well-connected families, others do not. As one of the teachers explained to me, there is a very wide range in the student body from native English speaking Americans away from home for a short while to others who barely speak English. Yet this school is, in a way, living out Fitzhugh’s creed — asking more of young people in the areas which bring about real growth — questioning, researching, and writing.

Comments

  1. Lenore Look says:

    Hi Marc,

    It was Isidor I. Rabi, the Nobel physicist who discovered nuclear magnetic resonance, who once said that everyday after school his mother would ask him not what he learned in school, but “Did you ask a good question today?” See here: http://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/19/opinion/l-izzy-did-you-ask-a-good-question-today-712388.html

    What a great way to educate kids — to be excited by their questions, not by their ability to repeat our answers.

  2. Marc Aronson says:

    I always mention that Rabi story during our Passover celebration — as the whole point of that event is for the kids to question everything.