School Is Bad for Children : Education Needs To Be Fixed

January 27, 2013   |  


Came across this great excerpt from a book by John Holt on This man has written a number of excellent books, dating back from 1964(!) stating with How Children Fail. Of course, in the past, the only other way to give our children an education was homeschooling. The time is ripe for us to take the gauntlet and, using modern technology, replace this system once and for all. It can easily be argued that the reason many young people say that they prefer big government is the incessant indoctrination in the public school system to that effect. It’s well beyond time to take back our children’s education. For if we don’t, then our children and their children will succumb to the lie that “the state is good, and the more state the better”

In he comes, this curious, patient, determined, energetic, skillful learner. We sit him down at a desk, and what do we teach him? Many things. First, that learning is separate from living. “You come to school to learn,” we tell him, as if the child hadn’t been learning before, as if living were out there and learning were in here, and there were no connection between the two. Secondly, that he cannot be trusted to learn and is no good at it. Everything we teach about reading, a task far simpler than many that the child has already mastered, says to him, “If we don’t make you read, you won’t, and if you don’t do it exactly the way we tell you, you can’t”. In short, he comes to feel that learning is a passive process, something that someone else does to you, instead of something you do for yourself.

In a great many other ways he learns that he is worthless, untrustworthy, fit only to take other people’s orders, a blank sheet for other people to write on. Oh, we make a lot of nice noises in school about respect for the child and individual differences, and the like. But our acts, as opposed to our talk, says to the child, “Your experience, your concerns, your curiosities, your needs, what you know, what you want, what you wonder about, what you hope for, what you fear, what you like and dislike, what you are good at or not so good at – all this is of not the slightest importance, it counts for nothing. What counts here, and the only thing that counts, is what we know, what we think is important, what we want you to do, think and be.” The child soon learns not to ask questions – the teacher isn’t there to satisfy his curiosity. Having learned to hide his curiosity, he later learns to be ashamed of it. Given no chance to find out who he is – and to develop that person, whoever it is – he soon comes to accept the adults’ evaluation of him.

via School Is Bad for Children by John Holt.

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