Educ: Knowing vs Doing LO7156

Tobin Quereau (
Fri, 3 May 1996 08:47:18 -0500 (CDT)

Replying to LO7125 --

On Thu, 2 May 1996, Ralph Krumdieck (actually Lynne Coates) wrote:

> My perspective is somewhat limited on this, but perhaps will be
> helpful. I homeschool my three children (ages 19, 14, and 8), and have
> found that the key to self-directed learning begins with the learner's
> interest. When the interest comes from within, the learning will follow by
> hook or by crook, despite poor resources and even despite poor "teaching"
> on my part (although I try to provide good resources and good teaching).
> The hard part is to allow periods of disinterest--that is, boredom--while
> they flounder around, or play at diversions, or daydream, or whatever. We
> (our society) so seldom give children the space and permission to just be.
> Sometimes that be-ing will be involved, excited, and active--and we
> enhance learning by providing resources and encouragement. Sometimes that
> be-ing will be uninvolved, undirected--and we enhance learning by allowing
> that, too, and offering encouragement if necessary. ("It's okay to be
> bored for a while. You'll figure out something in a while." or, if I'm
> less patient, "If you're bored, how about washing the dishes?") I see a
> major problem in education (and childrearing in general) as the drive to
> entertain and distract our children from being who they are and exploring
> what they want, what truly matters to them. How can you know what matters
> to you if you're never encouraged/allowed to take the time to find out?
> The entertainment approach can't be sustained all the way to college, and
> many of the problems identified in this thread could be based on this
> underlying attitude and its manifestations in students' expectations, in
> my opinion.

I think you have hit on something _very_ relevant to transforming
"education" into learning. As a pre-school teacher for many years (and a
child for many as well), I know first-hand the value in what you point out
about focus, interest, and boredom. Remeber how it used to take 50% _or
more_ of the time to figure out what you wanted to do with your friends
even when you were "playing"? I think that we do not allow children in
school the freedom to explore and experiment and collaborate enough to
stimulate the interest needed to carry them through the difficulties and
challenges of learning. (Of course I am _not_ speaking of organizations
here, they _must_ operate according to the rules of ADULT WORK and COULD
NOT SURVIVE if allowed to follow the natural flow of learning and
involvement which we are speaking of here...)

If we modeled our education system more on the lines of a good pre-school
setting--rich environment, lots of free choice, time for play and
interaction, support for imagination and creativity, laughter and song,
music, dance, room for physical activity as part of learning instead of
only at one time in the day, guidance in place of control, (and occasional
dishwashing), we would, perhaps, see some of the incredible progress in
learning continue beyond the pre-school years and even into late
elementary school levels!

But this diverts from your very readable message onto something else, and
I want to be sure and thank you for taking me back for a while to a time
when learning (and play!) was all there was to do.

Tobin Quereau
Austin Community College

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