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Dinning Table Project: Part 1

I recently saw a rustic table on another blog that inspired me to finally build the dinning table I have been talking about for years.

The table was a simple 4’x6’x32″ table made of 2 x 12 and 4 x 4 that I could pick up from my local Lowes. Not quite.

I asked my wife what she thought. That was the first detour I encountered. The second was trying to find untreated 4 x 4.

My wife graciously opened our new Williams and Sonoma mail catalog and showed me a table that required twice the wood and effort to make. The plans for the other table were already mapped out. Now I would have to start from a picture.

“Well, can’t you just get bigger wood, and put it together?” Uh, it’s not that easy.

To prove just how difficult it is, but my willingness to honor my wife, I am taking on the task.

5 Resources on Mimetic Instruction

Here are 5 basic resources on Mimetic Instruction.

1. Read anything by Plato.

2. There was an essay written in 1880 by Charles Alexander McMurry called How to Conduct the Recitation which covers the basic concepts of Mimetic Instruction. I have a copy of this essay in a book by J. Wesley Null and Diane Ravitch titled Forgotten Heroes of American Education. I am not sure if you can find a copy online or not, but it is worth a try.

3. But there is a deeper logic to Mimetic Instruction, which is the purpose of the The CiRCE Institute Apprenticeship. It arises from the nature of things and is governed by a single idea, namely, imitation. At its heart, Mimetic Instruction is summed up in the words of Jesus “Follow me.”

4. Another essay I have found particularly enlightening was written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and is titled The Education of Children. The opening sentence embodies the essential order of Mimetic Instruction when it states, “In the education of children, love is first to be instilled, and out of love, obedience is to be educed.”

5. One final source that comes to mind is a talk that Andrew Kern, president of the CiRCE Institute, does on Adam naming the animals from Genesis 2. This powerfully illustrates the process of Mimetic Instruction. You might look for it as an audio product from the CiRCE store.


Contemplating the Logos

In creating the universe he conferred upon it a created rationality different from, yet dependent on, his own uncreated Rationality, and thus gave it an intrinsic lawfulness of its own which is neither self-susistent nor self-explanatory but which endures before God as the truth and goodness of created reality upheld by his eternal Word. It was into this created rationality (or logos) that the Word (or Logos) of God entered, assimilating it to himself in the incarnation, in order to become Word of God to man through the medium of human word and rationality and in order to provide from the side of man for an appropriate response in truth and goodness toward God. –T. F. Torrance, Reality and Evangelical Theology

This quote has been on my mind as something to think about, yet I seem to continually set it aside. It is fairly dense, but it taps into the nature of the logos. St. Athanasius said something along the same lines in paragraph 17 of On the Incarnation.

The marvellous truth is, that being the Word, so far from being Himself contained by anything, He actually contained all things Himself. In creation He is present everywhere, yet is distinct in being from it; ordering, directing, giving life to all, containing all, yet is He Himself the Uncontained, existing solely in His Father. As with the whole, so also is it with the part. . . . His body was for Him not a limitation, but an instrument, so that He was both in it and in all things, and outside all things, resting in the Father alone.

Truth-centered Classroom

“Perhaps the classroom should be neither teacher-centered nor student-centered but subject-centered.” –Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach 

Actually, the classroom should not be subject-centered either. We should push this one step further, though in the same direction, and argue for a classroom that is truth-centered, one that is logos-centered.

Artificial Feelings

“Poetry which excites us to artificial feelings makes us callous to real ones.” –S. T. Coleridge, from Anima Poetae

Coleridge discloses how we can grow numb to and lose sight of our real senses. Nearly everything around us appeals to our uncultivated infant senses, leading us eventually to believe that these are the real senses we ought to attend when in fact they are merely probings of our unchecked appetite.

The problem is that we grow confused and disoriented to what the real senses are. We end up believing that our infant senses are the real thing and never mature into the fullness of our true virtue.

Technology in the Classroom

The NYT ran an article questioning the use of technology and education software in the classroom. Apparently, the Department of Education has provided research showing that a particular math software currently used by approximately 600,000 students nationwide does not measure up. Furthermore, the issue is far from settled as to whether technology actually improves or advances student learning.

Some argue that the issue is not about student learning, but about growing sales.
Why are we so insistent that schools technologize their classrooms? Why are we so anxious to remove the teacher (a title that used to bear the name master) from teaching? And what exactly are we putting in the place of the teacher? If the machine becomes master, what sort of thing (person) will emerge from the classroom?
You are what you imitate.

Baby Rabbits

About 3 weeks ago, I noticed this strange looking pink thing on the ground next to the rabbit pen. Gavriel, my daughter, was up early that morning with me and had let Buttermilk out of her box. But what she didn’t realize, and what I was realizing as I looked at this object, was that Buttermilk was in the middle of giving birth.

We found all the pups (6 total), and placed them back into the nesting box. Three pups did not make it, but three are now looking like rabbits. It is very exciting watching my daughters raise, breed, and care for their rabbits. We are up to 3 bucks, 2 does, and 3 babies. I am told the other doe is now expecting as well.