Well, I was discussing school with a friend of mine today and allthough we do differ somewhat in our opinion as to how learning could be acquired, we certainly were in aggreement that the schoolsystem as such could do with some changes. Not only as far as the subjects taught in school, but also in the way they are taught.
All my life I have had a preference to the Summerhill way of teaching. In short the children are living in a democracy where teachers staff and children make decisions in the democratic tradition. The children are given as much freedom as they wish in relation to whether or not they want to follow classes. The only rule is that, if they choose to play or gather information away from the classes, they don’t disturb the children who have decided to attend classes. Some children choose to avoid classteachings for long periods, sometimes years, other for months. But the thing is, that once they are motivated through curiosity about a subject they learn fast. They will learn everything and more in a short period of time.
My thinking is this, children are curious by nature and each and everyone of them has their own way of learning. Some are inspired through playing or music or practical work and others find learning through living with and being inspired by the people around them. And left to their own devices their own natural instincts they will learn everything imaginable at their own pace and in their own time.
I find that schools generally are extremely uninspiring, boring and downright useless when seen in the context of learning about life.
The children are usually divided by age and not by interests or abilities and talents and so the result is that the individuality of the children are not taken into account much less respected as it is now in our public schools.
What we are offering today is the same as it was a hundred years ago. It is the same system and of course the subjects have been updated, but the methods haven’t. And most young people end up leaving school molded into a frame which does not allow for creativity and individuality. And it certainly does not allow for knowledge about life and living in the world as humans.
It would be far more constructive, inspiring and fun if we dropped the schoolsystem all together and instead used the massive amount of money in including the children in the activities in the communities where they would have the choice to recieve knowledge about the subjects that would support their individual motivation for learning.
I think the result would be children, who not only would be more knowledgeable about a variety of subects, but who would also become far better of when it comes to participate constructively in the community and they would certainly have reached a higher level of lifeskills.
Now I do know this would mean a total change in society, but if we expect to create a better future for the children, then we also have to change the way we educate them, or better yet they show us how to educate them.