If a child can’t learn…

I’ve been sent a poster on Facebook. It reads;

If a child can’t learn from the way we teach, maybe we should teach they way they learn’.

You couldn’t get closer to the heart of the education system’s biggest problem than this. The problem being that because of silly bureaucracy, admin and politics, inspirational teachers don’t have the opportunity to teach in the way many kids need to learn. That is; in a variety of ways to suit our variety of children.

It was my youngest formerly home educated daughter who sent it to me (she’s nineteen now).

“Are you hinting that I didn’t manage it with you two?” I teased, confident that it wasn’t the case.

“No, not at all!” She was quite indignant. “I just thought it was something people who read your blog would like.”

Aw! I really didn’t think she noticed my blog that much. Obviously, I’m quite wrong about what she notices!

We’d been talking about their home education days recently. And the way she’d been able to learn.

She told me “I had more chance to be who I wanted to be and behave how I wanted, instead of always having to fit into other people’s criteria. The way you taught me wasn’t oppressive.”

She’d only ever spent one year early on in school and already it had felt oppressive?

Is education supposed to be oppressive? I always was under the impression it was supposed to be liberating.

And I hadn’t noticed that we’d taught exactly. We more guided, encouraged, stimulated, inspired, directed a bit and provided a mass of interesting activities and opportunities some of which I definitely didn’t want to do! But it seemed to work well. (Read how it happened in ‘A Funny Kind Of Education’)

We also tried to liberate the kids from the idea that you have to stay in predetermined tramlines. For you don’t always. And surely it is education itself that helps you broaden your world enough to come to that understanding.

Well, she obviously noticed that education should never be oppressive. And she learnt that through being taught the way she needed to learn. As indeed all children should be educated.

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8 thoughts on “If a child can’t learn…

  1. Ross – difficult to disagree with the philosophy you hold. How can one argue with the aim of making education and learning enjoyable.
    But it must be a question oft posed particularly to home educators, that all learning cannot be instantly enjoyable – for example in my own case I wouldn’t have been able to tackle my undergraduate and graduate studies if I hadn’t been forced (yes) to get to grips with seemingly endless practice in calculus. There must be examples from every field of study.
    I guess the battle then is to encourage the vision of the bigger picture, to inspire with the end goal in view.

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment Stephen. You are right, and I have always said, there are always times when you’re having to do stuff less than inspiring in whatever work you’re doing! But the aim I think is to be doing the ‘forcing’ yourself as you understand it gains you something you desire. The key to self-motivation of course! I think if the children’s experience with education – or with anything actually, is positive they learn the skills needed to stick at the less appealing bits!

  2. Your daughters’ wisdom never cease to amaze me so I can only imagine how your heart glows from witnessing 🙂 You are so right – mainstream education is the exact opposite of liberating 😦 What a gift you gave your girls in HE!

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