Mailbox Letters From You
An Ever-Changing Profession
I remember so well the impact made by the SPU education faculty, and particularly Vivian Larson, on my preparation for teaching.
I admire the notable figures quoted in this issue. To be brief, David Brooks sounded just the right
note in emphasizing the importance of the personal contact between teacher and learner. Technology can be time-saving, but can never replace human interaction. Tavis Smiley supports this line of thought in suggesting that all the learner’s publics — parents, wider family, teachers, and other supporting agencies — enhance learning by speci!c and continued partnering with the learner. And Diane Ravitch, whose latest book reveals a major change of position in the matter, identifies the personal and intimate nature of evaluation as contrasted with the distant and marginally effective use of standardized testing.
John Medina’s article is especially cogent. He makes the case for young children as those who
observe, hypothesize, and explore in a wide range of content and experience. If schooling is an intervention in the already chock-full lives of children, it should at least recognize and accommodate how they work.
I have said for many years that we have young anthropologists running around, unrecognized, in the fourth grade. Oh, for a curriculum that would recognize these young learners for who they are!
Walter A. Nelson ’56, MA ’63
Palm Springs, California
The Spring 2012 Response series of articles on education was very well done. It didn’t hide the fact that education is an ever-changing profession, but with all the challenges it is still relational, and many times a one-on- one relationship between teacher and student makes a difference. The SPU School of Education has been a leader.
Merle Bradford ’65
I very much enjoyed the Spring 2012 edition of Response featuring teaching, teachers, and some terrific commentary. Although I have moved on to other career endeavors, my years as a junior high (yes, it was that long ago, when they were still junior highs) and high school teacher remain very important to me.
Gwen Garrison ’85
Silver Spring, Maryland
A Normal School Legacy
Just got Response today. I wish they had identified the first two graduates of the Normal School, who were Elmer Root and Loretta Pettengill, my parents. They were married at SPC. … They went to India as missionaries where I was born. They served in India for 47 years.
I met my wife, Laura Elmer, at SPC, and Dean Beegle married us before Laura graduated in ’48. I
graduated in ’49. Laura and I went to Kodaikanal School in India in 1950, where we both taught. After being principal of Kodai 1970–73, I was assistant superintendent of Battle Ground (Washington) Public Schools for 10 years. My eldest two boys (of four) also became teachers.
Steve Root ’49
Battle Ground, Washington
I just “liked” SPU on Facebook and saw an offer to receive Response for free. Sign me up, please! I used to serve as editor of the Roberts Wesleyan College magazine. In that role, I received dozens of college and university magazines weekly. Response is the one I miss most. Kindly add me to your mailing list.
Albion, New York
Response last night and am struck once again — as I always am — with what a first-class, professional, content-rich, meaningful publication it is. I always appreciate staying up on
what’s happening at SPU, and I have yet to see a similar university publication that comes anywhere close to the quality of Response.
Keep up the great work!
Wendy Worrall Redal ’83
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