A Student’s Experience in Carson’s Class

As I journey my way here at Brooks School, I am frequently reminded of what I most loved about my last school: my students. The were by far the joy of my teaching/coaching life at Houston Christian. And though I will develop the same relationships here at Brooks, I am always happy to know that they gained a great deal from me. Below is an essay a student wrote about here experience in my courses. Thank you Courtney Smith.

Hey Mr. Carson! We’re learning about banking vs. liberated education and had to respond to a forum that assigned – ” Write two paragraphs about a memorable learning experience (good or bad) and analyze whether it represented banking education, liberated education, or a mixture.” I wrote about your class and just thought I’d share it with you! Your new students don’t know how lucky they are!! Miss ya!

Only knowing what it was like to attend a private school, it was a complete normality to have classes taught with a combination of banking and liberated education. However, I had no idea what to expect walking into my AP US History class my junior year. Freshman and Sophomore year my classes typically had Socratic seminars once a week, but they were planned and the facilitator knew ahead of time. My teacher, Mr. Carson was about to change my view on how I enjoyed classes the best. A typical day looked like us coming into class and him handing us note cards with a number on them, the tables were shaped in a square and we sat in the corresponding seat to our number. Eventually we were phased out of the note cards, as we soon enjoyed switching seats and sitting by new people every class. Carson would sit down with us at the table, pass around an attendance sheet (here he would track our participation), and would start off the conversation. We all had reading the class before and we would discuss it, analyze it, and learn how to truly grasp the ideas.

History was always an interest of mine, but Carson turned it into an experience, something to be involved in, and made the students passionate about learning more. His passion about history fed into ours and he inspired us to love it. Class discussions where we led the conversation (and often resulted in debates) helped us learn other classmate’s views and expand our own understanding. I think Carson got something that other teachers in my school didn’t. He could have lectured us and had us memorize the material, make good test grades, and be semi-interested in class. Instead he saw the value of discussion, which helped us truly understand and remember the material (that we would need to keep in our heads for our AP test in the spring, not just the test in a week). My favorite thing of all though is that he didn’t show off his knowledge. He is one of the writers of the national AP European exam, yet he allowed us to take the reigns of the class. He didn’t correct us immediately, but let us find the answers, and when necessary would chime in. He would sit with us, which made us feel completely comfortable to talk about anything because it was like he was one of us. Carson would also let us go on tangents and discuss completely random things, and he enjoyed it. My two years with Mr. Carson inspired me to learn more. I think it’s fairly obvious that he displayed the Harkness Method and in turn, liberated education. Freire said that, “[those truly committed to liberation] must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with the posing of the problems of human beings in their relations with the world.” I believe that in some subjects banking education is the most beneficial, however in many classes I think it’s important to have liberated education. The world is not looking for more memorizers.

Personally, I believe that if I graduated college, only having memorized my entire way through, a future job is not going to look that spectacular for me. What businesses need today are problem solvers who can think on their own and remember what is essential, not adults who memorize their way through everything and forget it several weeks later. I personally believe, and I think my history teacher did as well, that liberated education prepares a student for the real world, helps inspire passion for learning more, and allows us to analyze and think about other situations and viewpoints.

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4 thoughts on “A Student’s Experience in Carson’s Class

  1. Hi! I wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for the Versatile Blogger award. There’s more information about it on today’s first post of my blog. Congrats!

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