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2/19, “The Slow Murmur of Learning: Honoring Substance and Solitude in Education”

On Wednesday, February 19, Diana Senechal of the Columbia Secondary School in New York City will speak at 5:30 p.m. the Hippodrome in downtown Gainesville as part of the Center for Humanities and Public Sphere speaker series, “‘Civil’ Society? On the Prospect of Meaningful Dialogue” SPOHP is a co-sponsor of the event. For more information: Calendar

Over the past few decades, our schools’ emphasis on quick results and feedback has left students with little room for absorbing complex material or taking risks with their own work. Several trends, not confined to education, have contributed to the problem: an insistence on concrete, measurable goals; a narrow view of student “engagement”; an emphasis on talk over quiet thought; and a push for teacher evaluation systems that focus on test score results and quick classroom observations. These tendencies, although based on good intentions, have contributed to an environment that discourages (and sometimes even penalizes) challenging study and independent thought. To address this problem, schools should honor those aspects of education that require solitude (as well as community) and grow in meaning over time.

Diana Senechal teaches philosophy at Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science & Engineering in New York City. She is the 2011 recipient of the Hiett Prize in the Humanities, awarded by the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture and the author of Republic of Noise: The Loss of Solitude in Schools and Culture. Her translations of the Lithuanian poetry of Tomas Venclova have been published in two books, Winter Dialogueand The Junction, as well as numerous literary journals. Her education writing has appeared in Education Week, The New Republic, Educational Leadership, American Educational History Journal, The Core Knowledge Blog, Joanne Jacobs, GothamSchools, and The Washington Post’s blogThe Answer Sheet. She lives in Brooklyn.

  • This event is free and open to the public.
  • For more information, contact  Humanities Center.