Saturday, April 06, 2013

Do Schools Work?

"Our entire program [ Compulsory Schooling] is based on this argument: 'We know kids learn effortlessly if they have their own reasons for learning, but we can't wait for them to find their own reasons. We have to provide them with reasons that are not their own. This doesn't work, but it's the only practical way to organize our schools.

"What? How would I organize the schools? To ask this question presupposes that we must have schools, doesn't it? I prefer to think about problems the way engineers do. If a valve doesn't work, they don't say, 'Well, we must have valves, so let's try two valves.' If a valve doesn't work, they say, 'Well, what would work? Their rule is, if it doesn't work, don't do it more, do something else.

"We know what works for children up to the age where we ship them off to school: Let them be around you, pay attention to them, give them access to as much as you can, let them try things, and that's it. They'll take care of the rest. You don't have to strap small children down and teach them to speak, all you have to do is talk to them. You don't have to give them crawling lessons or walking lessons or running lessons. You don't have to spend an hour a day showing them how to bang two pots together, they'll figure that out all by themselves--if you give them access to the pots."--Daniel Quinn, Pg. 121, Providence

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