Saturday, May 29, 2010

Marva Collins

Marva Collins grew up in Atmore, Alabama at a time when segregation was the rule. Black people were not permitted to use the public library, and her schools had few books, and no indoor plumbing. Nonetheless, her family instilled in her an awareness of the family’s historical excellence and helped develop her strong desire for learning, achievement and independence. After graduating from Clark College in Atlanta, Georgia, she taught school in Alabama for two years. She moved to Chicago and taught in Chicago’s public school system for fourteen years.

Her experiences in that system, coupled with her dissatisfaction with the quality of education that her two youngest children were receiving in prestigious private schools, convinced her that children deserved better than what was passing for acceptable education. That conviction led to her decision to open her own school on the second floor of her home. She took the $5,000 balance in her school pension fund and began her educational program with an enrollment of her own two children and four other neighborhood youngsters.

Thus, Westside preparatory School was founded in 1975 in Garfield Park, a Chicago inner-city area. During the first year, Marva took in learning disabled, problem children and even one child who had been labeled by Chicago public school authorities as borderline retarded. At the end of the first year, every child scored at least five grades higher proving that the previous labels placed on these children were misguided. The CBS program, 60 Minutes, visited her school for the second time in 1996. That little girl who had been labeled as border line retarded, graduated in 1976 from college Summa Cum Laude. It was documented on the 60 Minutes programs in 1996. Marva’s graduates have entered some of the nation’s finest colleges and universities, such as Harvard, Yale, and Stanford, to mention just a few. And, they have become physicians, lawyers, engineers, educators, and entered other professions.

She writes about her education system as below
My educational program and methodology is based on the Socratic Method. Socrates, an Athenian philosopher and teacher, lived from about 470 – 399 BC. The Socratic method teaches by using a series of questions and answers by which the logical soundness of a definition, or a point of view, or the meaning of a concept, is tested. The Socratic method is based on logical analysis, consequently, it develops superb reasoning skills in students.
 Know more about Marva Collins from her website

No comments:

Post a Comment