What is Harper Lee's message about education in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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Harper Lee would have likely aligned herself with the educational pedagogy of John Dewey, who believed that children are not simply empty vessels waiting to be filled by an all-knowing teacher.

Interestingly, this view of education is exactly the opposite of the model that Scout's teacher, Miss Caroline, embodies. She ironically tells Scout that her father cannot teach her anymore as it will "interfere with her reading" and that Atticus "does not know how to teach." Of course, the greater irony is that Atticus is doing far more to teach Scout about the most important things in life—such as how to follow the convictions of her heart—through his daily conversations with her than Miss Caroline ever could.

Miss Caroline also represents that unfortunate segment of educators who is completely out of touch with the students in her care. She cannot begin to fathom why Walter Cunningham didn't bring his lunch and won't borrow a quarter. She hasn't been involved in town enough to learn about the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 1117 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on January 8, 2020
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