(Part 1: Schooling Has Nothing to Do With Real Education–John Taylor Gatto)
It is only once we see the problem with what Gatto calls “forced schooling that dumbs down children” that we even care about what a real education is. Many homeschoolers recreate the same problems of the classroom in their homes so this isn’t just about pointing out the problems with government education, but also the problems with the way any of us “do school.”
“Kids are set to memorizing science vocabulary, repeating well-worn procedures certain to work, chanting formulas exactly as they have been indoctrinated to chant commercials from T.V.” Gatto, A Different Kind of Teacher
In our family, we are taking a scrupulous look at what we’ve always assumed was an integral part of education and I’m testing it against real life. Let me give you an example:
In the 19th century, being able to do long division by hand was a necessity. Just like washing clothes with a scrub board was. But calculators and washing machines have changed things.
Yet, students spend countless hours learning to do a procedure they will never, ever need to do again in the real world. A ten minute lesson with a calculator would be far more advantageous. I’m experimenting by asking people everywhere I go if they’ve had to do a long division problem on paper since school. So far,no affirmatives.
The CONCEPT of division, now that’s important education. But that is learned in real life, without pencil and paper.
My theory is that there is already too much to ever learn. Why waste time on the things we will never need, that don’t grow us or give us real skills for life?
One may suggest that long division helps the mind think analytically which can be transferred to any area of life. Maybe. But so can a whole lot of other things more interesting and useful than long division. I liked long division. It was like a puzzle. So for that child, I say long division all day. But mostly I think it’s a waste of time better spent on other things.
Do you see?
Do we ever tilt our heads and look and things with fresh eyes, asking questions that no one else is asking, considering that “what everyone else is doing” may not be the best thing?
This is where is starts.