Oct 21, 2019
Marva Collins is the best teacher I have ever seen or heard of. Working in a poor black neighbourhood in Chicago in the 1970s, she took on the worst of the worst - kids described as "unteachable", either actively defiant towards school or considered so learning-disabled as to never be able to learn to read - and within a space of one to two years had them reading and enjoying Shakespeare, Chaucer, Plato, and Dostoyevsky; exhibiting an insatiable thirst for knowledge; and reading ten books each over the summer break. These children were on average around eight years old. Talking about Marva Collins forms the capstone of our biographies of great teachers.
I've mentioned Marva Collins many times on the podcast before. The first mention was way back in episode 1, as she appears in the book Mindset. Now I'm finally going into her work in detail. Part of the reason it took me so long to get around to this was that I was simply intimidated by the amount of work that I knew this would take - I've split up this episode into five parts, totalling around four hours of audio. There is just so much to say.
In this part, I talk about her background and look at some of her achievements to whet your appetite for a more in-depth look at how she did what she did.
Enjoy the episode.