Monday, November 18, 2013

Let Them Be part II

I loved this article but still wonder...can everything be self-taught? You cannot build a home without a foundation and you must know how to build a foundation first.

I just can't quite believe a child, at, say age 5 can self-educate all the way into a productive adulthood. You need basic math skills and reading skills.

But then- wait. I taught myself to read. My mom read me books daily from birth and I first learned by memorization; "the cat in the hat" was exactly that because I memorized that exact page, but then, I could identify the words the, cat, in, hat outside of the book. I learned hat made, well, the h-a-t sound so b-a-t must be bat. In first grade, I got to sit out of the learn to read lessons and got to go to the 5th grade classroom and pick out books to read.

But still...I think there needs to be some foundation and learning of that foundation.

Maybe have the early primary grades be a mix of tons of play (something we rid of in schools with NCLB and Common Core), expressive creativity (the arts) and unstructured exploration...with a drop here and there of structured learning. As children progress in their years in school, their own self-taught learning takes priority, where the teacher merely facilitates, observes, guides when asked. 

Think about skills you know and use, and knowledge you know and use. Think, how much was 100% taught, half taught, or self taught? Sure I learned gerunds from a teacher but grammar and sentence structure understanding came more through exposure to all the reading and writing I did. I learned from drill and kill, the names and orders of service of our presidents, but I knew little to nothing about the founding fathers until I read, on my own, founding documents and biographies. 

Anyway... what I glean from this article (yet I went off on a tangent) is that a lot of learning is self taught. It works best with one's frame of reference to self teach. It's an organic evolution of learning.

Common Core advocates might read this article (yep referencing it here, again)  and say, "exactly!"  And that's how Common Core brainwashes you. The buzzwords and ideas indicate self-learning and exploration, discussion and discovery, yet they are framed around standards and assessment-bound skills. The idea of self-learning cannot exist within a defined unmovable structure. Instead, you just teach an entire class to look at 3x+ 5y= 24 and say "hey first graders, go at it!" when three children are able to self-teach and figure it out and ten are thinking about drawing a realistic replica of the 3-d perspective of the playground, ten more want to learn how to play the drum solo of that #1 song they love...

The Common Core idea of group work and figuring and constructing knowledge still ignores individual differences, abilities, desires.

It also assumes every child must learn skill A,B,C and D in that order and by age 10 or else. It ignores the possibility of learning E or ф or A,D,C. 

Our structured learning blames everything on poverty or teachers, when children in dire poverty can learn to run a laptop. Because they aren't expected to learn A,B,C and merely construct A,B,C because gasp they are curious- something our education seems to kill.

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