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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Standardized timetables are great for trains; not so much for children's development.

School curricula are full of timetables by when children are expected to reach certain milestones. This includes levels of reading, writing, and math, as well as knowledge of historical facts and cultural artifacts. And if one views schools as factories, and teachers as dodgy factory workers (obviously with no long term stake in the widgets, er... children), this is a perfectly understandable management approach.

But there are vastly superior long-term cognitive benefits of self-motivation and discovery in the learning process. When discovered, knowledge and experience is cumulative in children. So it is often far better to be patient.

Making children learn something specific is sometimes necessary, especially if timed appropriately. But when done indiscriminately, such as in accordance with some some external artificial and ham-fisted time frame, directive teaching can easily drive reactance and a long-term bias against the topic .

A steady exposure for children to both real work and areas of their passion should draw most relevant skills. And in a way that they actually sticks.


  1. Unschooling is the practice of education and development that either minimizes or completely eliminates the directive or coercive techniques often used in education, or strives to re-imagine education outside of the influence of industrial schools.