Wednesday, August 20, 2014

to awaken (and not put to sleep) the love of learning...

Learning is the human being's most vital function, and the thing most natural but for the beating of the child's heart. And yet, in schooling due to the undue emphasis on standardized testing, and our fixation on measured results we immerse children in boredom.

The following video from Khan Academy would lead you to think that the important love of learning takes place away from the screen and outside the classroom, and you only discover that it is an advertisement from Khan Academy when in the midst of cartwheels, and balance beams you see the use of the computer screen. Most of the important learning you will see in the video could be best described as hands on. Even cartwheels are dependent on the proper placement of the hands, and without the hands going to their proper places, all else becomes disaster.

In any case, we have to applaud all instruments that attempt to give students a leg up on learning.

I have been reading novels written and published in the 19th century by Captain Frederick Marryat. His stories are delightful and available free on Google Books for a variety of eReaders, including the iPad. In addition to being free to todays' readers, Marryat's adventures were accurately told, and based on real life of the times, unlike the made up fantasy fodder we use today to enlist children's engagement in reading.

There is a difference between hands-on learning and the artificial learning constructs we use to bore kids and lead them to a state in which their natural inclinations to learn are suppressed. When you do something real in your own hands, whether making beautiful and useful objects, using a scalpel to dissect a frog, or have your hands on the strings of an instrument and are attempting to make beautiful sounds come out, the natural curiosity is awakened and brought into action.

Make, fix and create...

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