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Page 6 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 08 no. 1 April, 1932

Part of Mountain Life and Work

Page 6 MOUNTAIN Lmr. AND WORK April, 193' economic life this hard winter, while the Savings and Loan Association has been doing its part in making loans for productive purposes to farmers hereabouts. It has stood firm when county-seat banks on both sides of us hay a failed. These, briefly, are some of the oustanding features of the past few months at the John C. Campbell Folk School. We are happy to have this opportunity to extend to old and new friends a cordial invitation to visit us. OPPO9~T UNI TY SCHOOL---r932 MARY P. DUPUY A small group of men and women sat through the night around a low fire. Having lived as neighbors and nursed the little girl at whose "wake" we presided, there was a bond between us. Quite naturally our talk centered around questions of life and death and their ultimate meanings. Then we lapsed into silence. "Go on," said one of the women; "talk some more." So through the long night of early spring we talked and questioned. From ten to eleven it chanced to be on problems of peace and war; from eleven to twelve, stories and such poetry as we could summon to our tongue's tip; from twelve to one, a trip into the Alms; from one to two, marriage and divorce; and so the night wore on. With dawn we stretched our stiff muscles and began to disband. "Ain't it a shame," said Addle, "that when folks get married they have to stop learning?" Riding home through the woods at sunrise, we realized that through the night, in that small cabin by the creek, we had led a miniature experiment in adult education as we now think of it, through satisfying, in however meager and temporary form, the desire of men and women who, moored to life's tasks, asked for something out of and beyond them. In its comparatively short life in America, adult education, in all of its thousand and one forms, has come to be thought of as more than the gaining of literacy, and beyond education merely for efficiency and citizenship. "Mere literacy does not give craftsmanship, or character, or creativeness.'' There is, we feel, a greater depth and sounder wisdom behind the term which is now so popular. It is a wisdom which was first given expression in the dreams of the Danish philosopher and pastor, Bishop Grundtvig, in the nineteenth century. It is a wisdom which lies as well at the heart of the best modern philosophy of adult education. It is, in brief, the belief that true education of adults must come from within themselves; that men and women beyond formal school age must have awakened within them the desire, the want, to reach forth for their highest development of body, mind and spirit, before it can be begun. This desire may be both for personal satisfaction and for service for the common welfare. If carried to the point of producing energy and action, it can lead to more definite knowledge and training. It is for those who purport to direct adult education to provide the stimuli which will create this desire and purpose. Dr. L. P. Jacks, one of the best known modern exponents of the above philosophy, speaks of "the continued stimulation of the adult mind." The theory as to what this stimulation should consist of is again contained in that of Grundtvig; namely, that it cannot be in facts or accredited standards of education, but in interpretations of thought and experiences through the more direct medium of the teacher's personality. This, the Danish theory holds, is the touchstone for N ital stimulation of the adult mind. The actual subject matter is secondary to it, so long as the subject is of human significance and above merely utilitarian values. For a century there has developed in Denmark, that small land of small farmers, the schools of the people, or folk schools, which have gained universal attention for their service to the mass of rural people, who are not pursuing academic professions but who are of the soil and on the soil. These schools, of which Bishop Grundtvig was the prophet, are based on the above principles of adult education. The significance of these

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