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Saturday, April 2, 2011

For homeschoolers, education reformers, and open-minded citizens: a paraphrase of Montaigne

Our teachers never stop talking, as if they were pouring water into a funnel. Our task is only to repeat what they told us. Teachers need to stop doing this and instead begin have student try to do things, choose among options, make decisions for themselves, and let them find their own way. Schools want to take different students who have different ways of thinking and make them take the same courses and tests. It is no wonder that most children really learn nothing from this experience. I wish that actors or dancers could teach us to do what they do, simply by performing before us, without us moving from our seats. I wish that we could be taught to cook, or to play the piano, or learn to sing, without practicing at it. School wants to teach us to judge well and speak well without having us practice either speaking or judging.

This is a paraphrase in modern terms of Michel de Montaigne's thoughts on education taken from Essays:Book One published in 1572.


Inês Tx said...

Why is so difficult to do this. I am a teacher from São Paulo, Brazil.

Paul Miller said...

Schank cuts through the BS with this revisit.

Word Warrior said...

From a happy homeschooler who has been given a HUGE boost of confidence to do what I already felt in my bones, through your articles. (I've been talking about you-maybe you have some new readers??)

I closed the last text book this week. My husband and 2 of our children are en route this minute to buy bee hives. They took a video camera to interview the 80 yr-old something about his experiences. They are making their own documentary too, about bees, as they dive into this projects (oh and maybe a children's book? My son is an artist).

Yesterday, we built a big xylophone. My 8 yr. old son has no greater dream than to be a big machine operator when he grows up. I let him sit and watch my Dad for hours, operate his heavy machinery. I also bought him business cards that say: "Diggin' Dirt Machines" "Owner-to-be".

My oldest son is a Lego fanantic (and is amazing at it) and now he's asking me about "inertia" and he wants to build a machine (??) I don't know, I'm just glad. He HATES seat work but he's brilliant with his hands (he's the artist, making money at 13 drawing

I didn't mean to be so long-winded, just to say how much I appreciate your inspiration. There are so few of "you" out there and it is life-changing when you finally have the courage to do what you know is the right thing.

We're brilliant teachers to our children until they turn about 5, aren't we?