Sunday, December 05, 2004

Somerville/Blondel on Education

It is not expedient that all truths be indiscriminately communicated to every student regardless of age or temperament. Premature truths can do more harm than good; for just as it is criminal to anticipate the age of puberty with indiscrete revelations, similarly, intellectual irresponsibility on the part of the teacher can be vicious. Between the desire to tell all and to tell nothing, the educator must find a middle path. For example, if there is a real value to be realized in educating elementary school chldren in love of country, it is questionable whether the teacher should make it his or her business to make a parade of all the skeletons in the history of American or French diplomacy or military enterprises on the grounds that the child has the right to know all. Again, while the instructor may himself be passing through a phase of disillusionment, he is not really carrying out his trust if he seeks to poison other minds because of his own momentary personal problems.

James M. Somerville, Total Commitment: Blondel’s L’Action (Washington, D.C.: Corpus Books, 1968), pp. 161-162.