Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What if ???

What if we decided to allow children to move beyond boredom in school? There is an interesting article this month in Popular Science Magazine about Taylor Wilson, a young man who at 14 is the youngest to have achieved nuclear fusion. The Boy Who Played With Fusion According to the article,
"A rational society would know what to do with a kid like Taylor Wilson, especially now that America’s technical leadership is slipping and scientific talent increasingly has to be imported."
But it is obvious that we are not rational when it comes to education. We turn children away from science, we neglect to get them started in the things that would engage their most natural inclinations to build and to make. We insist upon classroom teaching when we know that individualized instruction is what teaches best. Taylor Wilson's case may be unique. He is certainly a gifted child. His parents recognized his gifts, learned to tolerate them at first and then to give him their full support. His unusual curiosity began with construction and how things are made. At the age of 5 he wanted a crane for his birthday. Stamping his foot, he let his parents know that a toy would not do and so his parents arranged for a 6 ton crane at his birthday party.

What if we followed Charles H. Ham's advice in his 1890's book, Mind and Hand, and turned our schools into workshops through which children's curiosity could be encouraged and expressed and form the building block for life-long learning? That might become our long term goal. Schools without boredom. In the meantime, we need to work with that which is given us and take matters into our own hands.

The video above is forwarded by reader, John Grossbohlin.

Make, fix and create....

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