One of my long term interests is education. Not just schooling, although that’s been a area of focus since I was in school (mostly because I just didn’t like the way the majority of my teachers went about what they did and how they did it). I’m interested in all sorts of education. If we’re going to spend so much time and money in formal learning environments, we should at least be sure we’re doing the best job possible.
My view in a nutshell is that we don’t do formal education very well. Schools, business schools, universities, company training courses, etc, look and feel stuck in a world we’ve definitely moved on from, and yet they work so hard to justify, rationalise and defend their relevance. I’m aware that it’s a little more complex than what I’m saying, but I’m still comfortable to stand by that statement as a starting point.
Gray is a well-known critic of our standard educational system who is frequently invited to speak to groups of parents, educators, and researchers about children’s needs for free play, the psychological damage inflicted on children through our present methods of schooling, and the ways in which children are designed, by natural selection, to control their own education.
With the above as an introduction, I will be posting some of Gray’s comments from his book from time to time. Perhaps it might begin a conversation 🙂
“Children come into the world burning to learn and genetically programmed with extraordinary capacities for learning. They are little learning machines. Within their first four years or so they absorb an unfathomable amount of information and skills without any instruction. They learn to walk, run, jump, and climb. They learn to understand and speak the language of the culture into which they are born, and with that they learn to assert their will, argue, amuse, annoy, befriend, and ask questions. They acquire an incredible amount of knowledge about the physical and social world around them. All of this is driven by their inborn instincts and drives, their innate playfulness and curiosity. Nature does not turn off this enormous desire and capacity to learn when children turn five or six. We turn it off with our coercive system of schooling. The biggest, most enduring lesson of school is that learning is work, to be avoided when possible.”