John Holt brought home to many of us who grew up with his books the
many misconceptions that people hold about learning and education.
The Paradox of School
School can seem to be a paradox because it promises to teach us all we
need to know in life and then turns around and blames us when we do not
learn it. The thing it that schools have other functions than teaching
us what we need to know and want to know. It has the function of
keeping children out of the way of parents; grading us into our slot in
life; and indoctrinating us to like what we get in life. Click to go to
Discipline is a very cofusing word as it has many meanings and those
meanings tend to blur together. It has been shown in current research
that self discipline and the discipline of control by others develop
out of very different circumstances. Click here to go to the discipline
page where you will discover how the two very different disciplines
develop out of very different mindsets, comunity structure and actions.
Fear and Flight
It is a sad state of affairs at the moment that school is still the
primary place that children learn to fear. They learn to fear
criticism, failure, ridicule, embarisment, and humiliation. This fear
activates avoidence and flight behavior and destroys children's natural
ability to learn. If you click here you be sent the 'fear' page where
you will see through the eyes of children the fearful and fightening
world within the child's mind.
Work and Play
Children do not make a distinction between work and play and neither do
a special kind of adults known as selfactualized humans. It is this
lack of perceptual distinction between work and play which makes life
joyful and worth living. If you click here you will go to the 'work'
page where you will find release from the world of drugery and how to
make work, play and learning, all a matter of heightened pleasure.
Threat and Punishment.
Experimental research has clearly shown that punishment while causing
compliance does not produce moral or better human beings. In fact the
worst criminals have been shown to have histories of having been
subjected to horrendous punishment. Punishment in the form of coercion
has been shown to inhibit creation, the production of skillful work,
and the very act of learning. Click to go to punishment page.
The Fourth R the Rat Race
We are all rushing toward a bright and beautiful future that keeps
slipping away. Just as we seem to be reaching our goal it is suddenly
and ineplicably further away than before. Schools are the places where
this slipery slide through life begins. Schools are a breeding groung
for competition and status seeking. Click here to to the 'fourthr' page
where you will learn how this process opperates and what can be done
It has been shown over time, that neither parents, nor the social
institutions set up to govern the welfare of children, can be trusted
to truly always act in the best interests of children. It should
therefore be self evident, that what is needed, is for children, like
adults, to be endowed with inalienable rights, and that these rights
should act as a guide for parents and the institutions for children.
Click to go to 'rights' page.
Teaching and the Taught
Teaching in this era has become something other than what it was
originally meant to be. It was meant to be a way of helping curious,
active minds to learn and it has become an ordeal of forcing masses of
knowledge into unreceptive minds. If you click here you will be taken
to the 'teaching' page where you will find authoritarian teaching
exposed for what it is, a means of maing knowledge as unpleasant as
taking bitter medicine.
For a generation we were mislead by behaviorist psychology to believe
that people could be shaped by judicious application of rewards. But
now a new generation of cognitive psychology and social psychology has
produced a new plethora of research that clearly shows that rewards do
not motivate especially when it comes to learning and creativity. If
you click here you will be taken to the 'reward' page to discover what