Some Basic Questions -- or -- Why Are Schools And Even Colleges Both Well-Meaning And The Most Ineffective And/Or Counterproductive Places For Learning Yet Devised By The Mind Of Man?
1) Why, at home, do little kids teach themselves both a zillion things plus a very complicated language and then usually think/learn poorly when we try to make them do it in school?
2) When will we realize that coercive teaching cannot MAKE learning happen? When will we see that only the child, if they're INTERESTED, can decide to absorb and integrate the information we have to offer?
3) Why don't we think about the fact that every toddler learns rapidly and efficiently, without any formal instruction whatsoever, even if many parents allow far-too-much television and are doing a far-less-than-ideal job of chatting and playing with the young?
4) What is the impact of taking immature little children away from their support system for six or more hours a day and make them relate to other, sometimes disturbed, young peers?
5) What may possibly happen when one stuffs hundreds -- or even thousands -- of undeveloped and/or dysfunctional brains into a single building, expect them to sit still, to stop talking, and then obey, even if the the teachers are good, caring, highly-paid, and well-trained people?
6) When are we going to understand that it's very scary and/or paralyzing to be put on the spot to answer a question when the teacher -- or the parent -- already knows the answer -- something that adults would never dare do to each other?
7) Why are most kids in most schools, public or private, anxious, bored, somewhat confused, and very resistant most of the time?
8) What are we going to do about the humiliation and rage that are apt to result when we tell little kids that they've already failed, one way or another, before their brains are fully developed and before their lives have hardly begun?
9) Why did a former Supt. of the Philadelphia. School District once state that, "The formal assessment of elementary-school children is the dumbest thing I've ever heard of" ?
10) How many adults in the U.S. would let the govt. force them into a school building for even 3 hours a week, make them study some obscure subject man-dated from on high, and then make their future careers dependent on passing the course?
11) Why do 50 percent of Philadelphia public school students drop out while, nationally, one-third of high-school students are competent readers, even as virtually all subject matter, from kindergarten through graduate school, is happily forgotten just as soon as summer rolls around?
12) So, should the first order of business be to just STOP doing what we're now doing?
13) And then why do we ignore those few teachers, in both public and private places, who have shown us how to HELP children keep on learning with the enthusiasm and effectiveness of almost any pre-school child?
14) Finally, would George Bernard Shaw still say that, "The only time my education was interrupted was when I was in school."
Robert E. Kay, MD
HOW CHILDREN FAIL by John Holt
DUMBING US DOWN by John Taylor Gatto
DESCHOOLING SOCIETY by Ivan Illich
WHAT DO I DO MONDAY? by John Holt
EVERY STUDENT CAN SUCCEED by William Glasser, MD
WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO RECESS AND WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN STRUGGLING IN KINDERGARTEN? by Susan Ohanian (www. susanohanian.org)