Who wants to "learn"? LO6364

Virginia I. Shafer (vshafer@AZStarNet.com)
Mon, 1 Apr 1996 19:15:16 -0700 (MST)

Replying to LO6323 --

Clyde Howell shares and asks:

>It has long been noted that we tend to kill the creative side of a child
>by the time s/he reaches fifth grade or so. That includes setting the
>stage for a loathing of school and anything that resembles or reminds us
>of that experience.
>Working to fix this in the adult world of work is difficult. Has anyone
>given thought to how we can fix the next generation before they get

Yes. Stop using competition to "motivate" learning. Nothing breaks the
spirit, and therefore creative energy, faster than to be made to feel a
loser. Progress in this area is moving at a snail's pace in the school
system where they are emphasizing teamwork and trying to improve problem
solving skills, but students are still graded individually and compared to
each other for assessment purposes. If you haven't read it yet, please
pick up a copy of Alfie Kohn"s _No Contest: The Case Against Competition_,
especially the last chapter on Learning Together. I quote:

Many parents, looking back on their own years in school, may
recall a superlative teacher here, a few satisfying friendships there, an
occasional moment of excitement when a connection was made or an idea
understood. But the background to these pleasant memories may be
something much like what ... scores of other observers have documented:
isolation, humiliation, self-doubt, rivalry, pointless tasks, boredom.
All of us for whom this account rings true have a choice to make. We can
set our jaws and harden our hearts, muttering, "Hey, if it was good enough
for me..."--thereby dooming another generation to the same fate. Or we
can ask, "What can be done to make sure our children get better than we
got?" Even to ask this question presupposes that we have
recognized...that, just as a game does not have to be a contest, so the
stultifying aspects of our education are not inevitable features of going
to school.

End of quote

Why put too much new thought into it when Mr. Kohn has done such a
marvelous job?!

Ginger Shafer
The Leadership Dimension
"Bringing Leadership to Life"


vshafer@AZStarNet.com (Virginia I. Shafer)

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