Opening Activity

Take a few minutes to write down something you may have lost track of or forgotten by growing up. Would it be as easy now to recover this knowledge or know-how? If not, why, what is in the way?

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean for a book to be ''one transformation of a tree?'' Does this statement remain true at the end of the poem?
  2. How can learning reflect the richness of existence? How can knowledge estrange us from the world?
  3. How do the words ''shape'' the trees?
  4. What is the power of language in this poem? How does it control Nature? What are its limits?
  5. Is the silence of the trees the sign that we cannot learn from them? Can we learn something from this silence?
  6. How do the concepts, categories, and theories of your work or discipline ''answer to the chaos of existence?''
  7. Is there anything your students should unlearn in order to learn better?
  8. How do you interpret the ''secret will'' mentioned in the poem? Beyond what the student and teacher pursue in education, is there anything else, a secret will, at work in the classroom?

Closing Activity

In a word, what would you like to find that language cannot capture?

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