Saturday, April 2, 2011

For homeschoolers, education reformers, and open-minded citizens: a paraphrase of Montaigne

Our teachers never stop talking, as if they were pouring water into a funnel. Our task is only to repeat what they told us. Teachers need to stop doing this and instead begin have student try to do things, choose among options, make decisions for themselves, and let them find their own way. Schools want to take different students who have different ways of thinking and make them take the same courses and tests. It is no wonder that most children really learn nothing from this experience. I wish that actors or dancers could teach us to do what they do, simply by performing before us, without us moving from our seats. I wish that we could be taught to cook, or to play the piano, or learn to sing, without practicing at it. School wants to teach us to judge well and speak well without having us practice either speaking or judging.

This is a paraphrase in modern terms of Michel de Montaigne's thoughts on education taken from Essays:Book One published in 1572.