“THE BOTTOM LINE IS, IF YOU’RE NOT THE ONE CONTROLLING YOUR LEARNING,
YOU’RE NOT GOING TO LEARN AS WELL.”-Mitra
In the book Free Range Learning, Laura Grace Weldon stresses the importance of freedom and choice in children’s education. She has case study after case study of successful students who were given much choice in what they learned and how they learned it. She encourages parents to set up learning environments and experiences that encourage growth and learning and to act more as a guide or fellow learner rather than as a “teacher”.
This week Scott sent me an article from Wired Magazine (CLICK HERE TO READ). It is about a school in Mexico next to a dump. This school is in the middle of a drug war zone and has very little resources for what we would consider a “good education”. This school does have one thing, a teacher who cares about his students and wants them to escape the life that many of their parents have. This teacher, Juarez Correa heard about a man who changed the world of education in poor communities in India. This man, Sugata Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University in the United Kingdom had done experiments in poor villages starting in the late 90’s. He would put a computer in a school and say very little. The students would then go off and teach themselves how to use the computer. He then loaded these computers with information and would tell them that there were interesting things on these computers. Over time the students taught themselves molecular biology, English and so much more!
Mitra believes that students should learn through play, creativity and following their curiosity. His work is inspired by great educational philosophers such as Jean Piaget, Socrates and Maria Montessori. The students in the Mexican school next to the dump, when following Mitra’s model went from the bottom rank to one of the top rankings in Mexico. Makes you wonder if what we are doing in this country is truly working or needs to follow these educational experiments that are happening around the globe.