Friday, 29 April 2011

Why can't school be more fun?

I am rereading for about the third time a book called " Awakening your child's natural genius" by Thomas Armstrong.  He succinctly expresses my concerns with our education system....

"Children are programmed by nature to absorb knowledge easily and joyfully when surrounded by a positive learning climate.  The problem is that tremendous forces in our culture - and in particular in our education system - stand in the way of a child's natural learning ability.  These barriers include competition, testing, grades, stress, shame, boredom, dull textbooks, bland teachers, student labeling and educational tracking."

He goes on to say...  "The worksheet wasteland still lives, and the clamor nationwide for higher test scores threatens to make this condition worse by causing teachers to focus too much attention on test preparation at the expense of real learning."

This book was written in 1991 in America,  however I think it is relevant to our education system today  which has foolishly followed along the standardized testing path.

Education should be about curiosity, creativity, problem solving, wonder, excitement, exploration, enthusiasm  and passion.  It should help children discover their interests, aptitudes, passions and hobbies and then teach them the skills to pursue them.  Children should be learning about the world and how to best live in it.  Less worksheets, more art, drama, creative thinking, hands on maths, real book literacy, writing, scientific observation and experimentation, gardening, dance, music, cooking, hands on - real life  learning, doing.

Luckily there are some inspirational schools out there.......

1. Green School in Bali

2. The Blue School in New York.

You can also read some articles on progressive education at Let the children play.

Unfortunately those schools are overseas and very expensive.  We need public schools to be more fun, creative, colourful and inspirational so everyone can  receive the best education possible!  Maybe we can start a red or yellow school in Australia or even a rainbow one!

Luckily school isn't this bad!

"I have no patience with the stupidity of the average teacher of grammar who wastes precious years in hammering rules into children's heads.  For it is not by learning rules that we acquire the powers of speaking a language, but by daily intercourse with those accustomed to expressing themselves with exactness and refinement and by copious reading of the best authors" Erasmus.

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