"Now that the joke has
Footnote to a
I take exception to the use of the headline "Teachable
Moments" for your article about charter schools
(August/02). The phrase "teachable moments"
comes from the book Human Development and Education
(David McKay & Company, 1952) by Robert James Havighurst,
a professor in education at the University when I was
I had the privilege of being his student
in a special one-year teacher education class in 1956-57.
His influence and particularly his belief in teachable
moments had a valuable effect on my teaching and career.
In fact, my quoting him to a public-school superintendent
won me a teaching position.
The Magazine article did not
relate in any way to Havighurst's definition of teachable
moments as quoted from his book: "A developmental
task is a task which is learned at a specific point and
which makes achievement of succeeding tasks possible.
When the timing is right, the ability to learn a particular
task will be possible. This is referred to as a 'teachable
moment.' It is important to keep in mind that unless the
time is right, learning will not occur. Hence, it is important
to repeat important points whenever possible so that when
a student's teachable moment occurs, s/he can benefit
from the knowledge."
Professor Havighurst is deeply respected
and widely quoted in regard to his teaching, speaking,
and writing about child, adult, native-Alaskan, American-Indian,
and clergy education. Please give him the credit due him.