Archived Story

Looking back to shared ground in Vietnam

Published 4:20pm Saturday, July 21, 2012

If there is not an inherent attracting power in the attracting power in the material, then…the teacher will either attempt to surround the material with foreign attractiveness, making a bid or offering a bribe for attention by “making the lesson interesting”; or else will resort to…low marks, threats of non-promotion, staying after school…. But the attention thus gained…always remains dependent upon something external…True, reflective attention, on the other hand, always involves judging, reasoning, deliberation; it means that the child has a question of his own and is actively engaged in seeking and selecting relevant material with which to answer it.” — John Dewey, 1915

I didn’t take time to read “Hooked on Learning: The Roots of Motivation in the Classroom” but I became anchored to John Dewey’s comment mentioned above. It also takes up a majority of the column.

Earlier this week I spent a few hours drinking coffee and talking story with my cousin Ed and another good rural soul, Dick Carroll. We believe we may have shared the same ground at Artillery Hill. He was stepping out of a plane. The air strip was just a short ways away.

Dick shared his flight experience in Vietnam. We decided we both could have been on the ground at the time. He occasionally landed there. Most of my time was on Artillery Hill, sometimes at the Duc Pho Catholic Orphanage where we had our jungle fatigues washed and stomped on by Vietnamese men not children as was mentioned. That was my mistake.

The children at the orphanage were maybe eight to twelve at the oldest. The American soldier that founded the Catholic Orphanage unfortunately didn’t make it out alive. This came to me years later from his son in Wisconsin.

Lately I’ve kept my Ho Chi Minh slipper sitting on the dog kennel next to where I type. The other slipper is probably still laying on the bottom of the lake where the dive pulled off my ‘left Ho Chi Minh slipper’ a number of years ago.

Mellow and Fred are quietly dreaming about people passing by to bark at.


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