I wonder if people know that Thoreau and his brother are sometimes said to have pioneered the idea of a school field trip, at least in and around Concord, Massachusetts? Pioneered, that is, taking young people out of the school room, out to see a boat maker make a boat, out to see a surveyor survey? The Thoreau brothers were both teachers, and of course, the Transcendentalists in general thought that schooling needed reform—take Alcott, who saw the poetry of kids, the poetry that, I would argue, is often schooled out of them, even today, instead of encouraged. Even at Harvard, which Thoreau attended, things were bad, students rioting, standards low. Thoreau used to say that Harvard taught all of the branches of knowledge and none of the roots. Being a teacher, he supported teaching, and education was less a chore and more of a joy.
Posted by .Robert Sullivan at Saturday, April 30, 2011