Our modern day compulsory education system was created for a different age. Most of the elements we find in traditional schooling were implemented in order to serve society during the industrial revolution and are no longer relevant to our day. Despite this, traditional schooling continue to follow the same pattern generation after generation and the results are disheartening.
After the video below, we site valuable highlights from some key experts on the problems. After reviewing this post, follow the link at the end to the solutions.
Below is a concise overview of the loss of heathy independence through the design of government funded schools and independent options patterned after that unhealthy model.
Just after receiving the 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year Award, John Taylor Gatto announced he was going to quit because he didn’t want to “hurt” kids anymore. “Government schooling,” he charged, “kills the family by monopolizing the best times of childhood and by teaching disrespect for home and parents.” and that it is a “twelve-year jail sentence where bad habits are the only curriculum truly learned”?
According to Gatto’s observations in his book, Dumbing Us Down, the seven lessons taught in public schools are:
- Confusion – The natural order of real life is violated by heaping disconnected facts on students. Filling the majority of children’s “free” time of children and designed with the intent/expectation that content will be soon forgotten by the student.
- Class position – Children are placed into categories by authority figures, teaching the lesson that “everyone has a proper place in the pyramid.”
- Indifference – Inflexible school regiments with disconnected subject matter deprive children of complete experiences.
- Emotional dependency – Kids are taught to surrender their individuality to a “predestined chain of command” by the use of punishments, rewards and the restriction of choice.
- Intellectual dependency – One of the biggest lessons schools teach is conformity rather than curiosity.
- Provisional self-esteem – “The lesson of report cards, grades, and tests, is that children should not trust themselves or their parents, but should instead rely on the evaluation of certified officials.” This teaches a kind of self-confidence that requires constant confirmation by experts.
- One can’t hide – Schooling and homework assignments deny children privacy and free time in which to learn from parents, from exploration, or from community. This encourages tattling, blaming and a loss of the sense of self.
Here, Sir Ken Robinson shares the history of education and why we might want to look at changing our approach to how and why we “school” our children.
In many educational models, motivation is based on punishments and rewards. Children work for good grades, social recognition, and to avoid negative attention, embarrassment, and shame. These are the rewards for studying, reading, writing well, understanding mathematical principles, and memorizing dates from history. Some children even have secondary reward systems built around these initial rewards. For example, parents may pay a child a certain number of dollars for each ‘A’ they bring home, promise them a fun trip if they get a certain grade point average, or ground the child if his test scores are not up to standard. It’s the age old “carrot and stick” mentality. Students are trained to focus on acquiring “carrots” (rewards) and avoiding “sticks” (punishments).
Intrinsic motivation specialist, Alfie Kohn, explaining why grades hurt child:
The philosophy of Conscious Discipline has also highlighted the harm of traditional schooling environments and is seeking to inspire change. Here is Dr. Becky Bailey explaining how brain states effect the way we learn/interact:
Learning is inherently enjoyable! Children are naturally curious! When we strip away all of the layers of coercion and control that have been placed between children and education, and provide excellent examples of what they could accomplish, we get students who are joyful in their learning, engaged in what they are accomplishing, and driven to create purposeful lives.
A note on mandatory attendance – We invite you to recognize that any program with mandatory attendance is not designed in favor of the healthy development of the student. Desire/motivation and quality of learning is NOT established from forced exposure. Those schools have financial consequences if students are absent (most times even if the absence is excused). Alternatively if the student sees the value in participating and can experience the natural loss of experience, NOT the addition of fear/punishments/guilt, they will grow in the understanding of their personal responsibility for learning and growth.
Want to see more of what education can be?