Woman. And education.

I am reading Woman by Edith Stein ( St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross).Translation by Freda Mary Oben, PhD.

I have enjoyed other writings of Edith Stein and this book also captures me. There is a sympathy in her writings, and this is coupled with Stein’s ability to write clearly on philosophy and ethics.

I have begun this volume with the section on education. Of course. As a homeschooling mother, a teacher, a Kumon Education Supervisor, what would draw my interest most, if not education?

Edith Stein consecrated herself in full to whatever she undertook, including education. She used the spoken and written word not only in teaching at school and at teacher’s college but also in bringing about educational reform. Her influence was through her work, yes, but also strongly through her personal example. This fits with her educational philosophy ~

The children in not need merely what we have but rather what we are.

The entire educational process must be carried out with love which is perceptible in every disciplinary measure and which does not instill any fear. And the most effective educational method is not the word of instruction but the living example without which all words remain useless. ( page 6)

Who I am as a teacher and a mother, the way I act, what I do, communicates volumes to my students and children. All the perfect curricula I could collect, the perfect setting for my homeschool or my Kumon centre, means little without my interest, love, integrity, care. My own learning and growth.

Stein wrote ~ Education is not an external possession of learning but rather the gestalt ( form or character) which the human personality assumes under the influence of manifold external forces, i.e. the process of this formation. …The body draws from the physical world, the psyche from its intellectual environment – from the world of people and from the values which nourish it.

The first fundamental formation happens within the soul. Just as an inner form resides in the seed of plants, an invisible force making a fir tree shoot up here and a beech there, there is in this way an inner mold set in human beings which urges the evolution into a certain direction and works towards a certain gestalt in blind singleness of purpose, that of the personality which is mature, fuly developed, and uniquely individual….

Actual formative material is received not merely by the senses and intellect but is integrated by the ‘heart and soul’ as well. But if it actually becomes transformed into the soul, then it ceases to be mere material; it works itself, forming, developing; it helps the soul reach its intended gestalt. ( pages 130-131)

So, according to Edth Stein, true education touches both the soul and the intellect. We, as teachers, as parents, we unschoolers, should continue to be aware of the important effect of environment and atmosphere, of life itself, of others, and of our values, on our children and students …

I have to keep reading this book, so many concepts to consider.
Love it!
And I need to add it to my just-starting-list at Good Reads. ( Thanks, Mary, for the tip to join !).

4 thoughts on “Woman. And education.”

  1. Hope you all have a good year, too! And I think you’d like the ook – older sons and I had an interesting discussion this weekend re wome and vocations, as a result of my reading in “Woman”.

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