Barbara Kingsolver (born April 8, 1955) is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She was raised in rural Kentucky and lived briefly in the Congo in her early childhood. Kingsolver earned degrees in biology at DePauw University and the University of Arizona and worked as a freelance writer before she began writing novels. Her widely known works include The Poisonwood Bible, the tale of a missionary family in the Congo, and Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, a non-fiction account of her family's attempts to eat locally.
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What we lose in our great human exodus from the land is a rooted sense, as deep and intangible as religious faith, of why we need to hold on to the wild and beautiful places that once surrounded us. We seem to succumb so easily to the prevailing human tendency to pave such places over, build subdivisions upon them, and name them the Willows, or Peregrine's Roost, or Elk Meadows, after whatever it was that got killed there. Apparently, it's hard for us humans to doubt, even for a minute, that this program of plunking down our edifices at regular intervals over the entire landmass of planet Earth is overall a good idea.
I would agree that learning is a natural act if we are talking about the kind of learning that happens in a healthy relationship between a mother and her baby or between two people getting to know each other. But schooling is not a natural act. Quite the contrary: The institution of School, with its daily lesson plans, fixed curriculum, standardized tests, and other such paraphernalia tends constantly to reduce learning to a series of technical acts and the teacher to the role of a technician. Of course, it never fully succeeds, for teachers resist the role of technician and bring warm, natural human relationships into their classrooms. But what is important for thinking about the potential for megachange is that this situation places the teacher in a state of tension between two poles: School tries to make the teacher into a technician; in most cases a sense of self resists, though in many the teacher will have internalized School's concept of teaching. Each teacher is therefore somewhere along the continuum between technician and what I dare call a true teacher.