About education: here’s what I don’t understand. On the one hand, you have the child – this incredibly wonderful organism that has had millions of years to evolve a beautifully complex brain designed to be naturally curious, playful, vital, creative, and joyful. On the other hand, you have this amazing world: exquisite life forms, unbelievable cultural achievements (Beethoven, Picasso, Einstein), new ideas coming forth all the time. Education should be about introducing this curious child to this amazing world.
How difficult can this be? It should be the simplest and most natural thing in the world. Yet, somehow we manage to muck it up. Why? First, because educators generally don’t regard the child as incredible. Instead, they place limits on his or her potential with labels like “learning disabilities,” “developmental delay”, “unmotivated”, and “average ability.” Second, because educators don’t regard the world as amazing, at least when they’re teaching about it in school. Instead, the world is broken down into little skills and tasks that are so small and insignificant that the wonder of the world is lost. Third, because all sorts of garbage is interposed between the curious child and the amazing world to make it nearly impossible for the two to meet: bureaucratic timetables, mandates, standards, legislation, rubrics, standardized tests, and other bits of idiocy. I would like to suggest a meditation for all those interested in education. Visualize the way education could be: introducing incredibly curious and creative children to an amazingly rich world. How difficult can this be?
To find out what education could and should be, see my book If Einstein Ran the Schools: Revitalizing U.S. Education.
This article was brought to you by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. and www.institute4learning.com.
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