IMAGE:  December 2002 GRAPHIC:  University of Chicago Magazine
Volume 95, Issue 2
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The Real Life Adventures of Pinocchio


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"Now that the joke has been had..."

Footnote to a headline
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 there.

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.

Barbara Frankel Wald, AB'57
Narberth, Pennsylvania

The University of Chicago Magazine invites letters on its contents or on topics related to the University. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited for space or clarity. In order to ensure as wide of range of views as possible, we ask readers to try to keep letters to 500 words or less. Write:

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