Posted by: crudbasher | March 30, 2011

Seven Sins of Forced Education

(cc)Jonathan Steven Fernandez

Well this is quite a provocative article! The author is listing seven reasons why forcing kids to attend school is bad for them and learning in general. Frequent readers of mine will realize I agree with this line of thinking. Still, I have never taught public schools so I don’t have that point of referance.

I have said it before and I’ll say it here again, I think teachers do the best job they can but they are in a situation they can’t win. Treating learning like it can be done on as assembly line isn’t producing the students we need.

I think society will move to a more personalized way of education. Interestly though what this will mean is a lot more diversity of choices in how to learn. There will still be schools to a certain extent but there will also be a lot more online virtual schools and home schooling.

I invite you all to read the article and share your thoughts!

  • Interesting article about problems with forced education

    tags: education profound nell list

    • The comments on my last post showed that my references to school as prison made some other people feel uncomfortable also.
    • Human beings within a certain age range (most commonly 6 to 16) are required by law to spend a good portion of their time there, and while there they are told what they must do, and the orders are generally enforced. They have no or very little voice in forming the rules they must follow. A prison–according to the common, general definition–is any place of involuntary confinement and restriction of liberty.
    • Now here’s another term that I think deserves to be said out loud: Forced education. Like the term prison, this term sounds harsh. But, again, if we have compulsory education, then we have forced education. The term compulsory, if it has any meaning at all, means that the person has no choice about it.
    • Most people seem to believe that it is, all in all, a good thing; but I think that it is, all in all, a bad thing. I outline here some of the reasons why I think this, in a list of what I refer to as “seven sins” of our system of forced education:
    • Denial of liberty on the basis of age.
    • To incarcerate an adult we must prove, in a court of law, that the person has committed a crime or is a serious threat to herself or others. Yet we incarcerate children and teenagers in school just because of their age.
    • Fostering of shame, on the one hand, and hubris, on the other.
    • We thereby tap into and distort the human emotional systems of shame and pride to motivate children to do the work. Children are made to feel ashamed if they perform worse than their peers and pride if they perform better.
    • Interference with the development of cooperation and nurturance.
    • Throughout human history, children and adolescents have learned to be caring and helpful through their interactions with younger children. The age-graded school system deprives them of such opportunities.
    • Interference with the development of personal responsibility and self-direction.
    • A theme of the entire series of essays in this blog is that children are biologically predisposed to take responsibility for their own education
    • By confining children to school and to other adult-directed settings, and by filling their time with assignments, we deprive them of the opportunities and time they need to assume such responsibility.
    • Linking of learning with fear, loathing, and drudgery.
      • A fundamental psychological principle is that anxiety inhibits learning. Learning occurs best in a playful state, and anxiety inhibits playfulness. The forced nature of schooling turns learning into work. Teachers even call it work: “You must do your work before you can play.” So learning, which children biologically crave, becomes toil–something to be avoided whenever possible.
      • Inhibition of critical thinking.
      • But despite all the lip service that educators devote to that goal, most students–including most “honors students”–learn to avoid thinking critically about their schoolwork. They learn that their job in school is to get high marks on tests and that critical thinking only wastes time and interferes. To get a good grade, you need to figure out what the teacher wants you to say and then say it.
      • Reduction in diversity of skills, knowledge, and ways of thinking.
      • Students forced through the standard curriculum have much less time to pursue their own interests, and many learn well the lesson that their own interests don’t really count; what counts is what’s measured on the schools’ tests.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.


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