I’m on a roll today. Actually, I am practicing creative procrastination. Or maybe it is my version of couch potato for the sick person. More Facebook goodness. Well, it is from The Circe Institute blog, but their posts are linked on FB. (Do you see how I justify my FB habit?)
True Lies by Angelina Stanford @ The Circe Institute:
When I was a kid I was taught by my elementary teachers that non-fiction books are true and that fiction books are not true. I bet most of us were taught that same distinction. But as an adult I have discovered that these categories are very misleading and problematic…
Works of fiction, especially fairy tales, can develop a child’s moral imagination, can help them distinguish right from wrong, and can prepare them for the great battles of their lives.
Comparing truths in fiction and nonfiction recently came up elsewhere in my reading. From Classics in the Classroom by Michael Clay Thompson:
A point about fiction and nonfiction: we must teach our students not to mistake the natures of fiction and nonfiction. The amateur’s specious idea that nonfiction classics such as The Autobiography of Malcolm X are true and fictional classics such as Silas Marner are not true must be carefully avoided. Some of history’s greatest and most evil fictions have appeared in nonfiction works (Hitler’s Mein Kampf is an example), and some of humanity’s truest truths have appeared in works of fiction, such as Oedipus Rex, Moby Dick, or Les Miserables. There are forms of truth that only fiction seems capable of reaching…
Of course, the heart of this discussion about classics, ideas, thinking, and intellectual freedom is that education must be, in essence, a search for truth. It is a mark of how cynical, feckless, and decadent we have become that to view education as a search for truth seems naive and idealistic. But what is the alternative view? Would anyone feel comfortable seriously articulating it? The hard fact is that if education does not concern itself with the search for truth, it is fraudulent….
If teachers are engaged with their students in an exciting…search for truth, rather than in an endless concatenation of time-consuming, unfocused, pseudo-educational hubbub, then truth can be found, and students can be instructed.