I have been following a blog by Issac Moorehouse. He tends to view education in a similar way to me. Now I don’t recommend only listening to people who agree with you but some don’t hurt.
Here’s a recent post I agree with and have written similar things before.
If we mean by education a tamed will and constrained imagination, school does a decent job. If we mean the temporary memorization of a set of arbitrary facts chosen by arbitrary authority and the permanent crystallization of the life-as-a-conveyor-belt mindset, school does a decent job. But then it’s more about obedience than education. Education is about transformation. It’s a process of transforming the way we see the world and giving us new conceptual tools to put on as lenses and improve our ability to navigate towards our goals. Kids aren’t given much chance or scope to explore and decide what goals they want to pursue or how they want to do it. They don’t even get responsibility over their own schedule.
All genuine learning is self-directed. It happens only when the learner has the desire. Obedience and hoop jumping can be generated by compulsion and deprivation, but transformative education requires freedom. If Hector really wanted to be in school he wouldn’t need a nudge. If he was there of his own volition because he wanted to learn what they were teaching then he might genuinely learn.
Yep. Preach it brother. There are some new types of schools that seem to get this. There is a new public school near San Diego that allows students to work in “pods” of like minded students or individually as required.
“They wanted students to really like and enjoy school,” said Megan Power, one of the five teachers who designed the school. They wanted school to be a place where students could explore their passions and fall in love with learning. Things like specific content areas and test scores rarely came up. “Once we gave parents a voice — the chance to talk about what they wanted out of school — they just took off with it.” Power said. “It really opened up that there were other possibilities.”
The team also asked students what they wanted out of school. “They wanted a lot of projects,” Power said. “They wanted meaningful, purposeful work. They didn’t want to be limited. And if they needed help they didn’t want to feel like they weren’t as good as other children.”
That is very encouraging to me. If you have to have kids in a classroom, if they don’t want to be there all the rest is an expensive waste of time. The real trick here though is going to make sure they can pass the masses of tests they are forced to comply with. If that doesn’t happen I predict this school will be shut down and the kids shipped back to the regular schools.