59 thoughts on “A Teacher Speaks Out–Reading Without Meaning

  1. PsychMom, I’d like to be 100 per cent with Peter Gray. Yes, kids should be allowed to use their own motivation and their own interests.

    Some of my hesitation comes from knowing people who had those childhoods full of more or less forced educational experiences, who then wind up with a huge advantage because of the knowledge they acquired. I have very mixed feelings about this.

    Maybe the problem is that I’ve never seen Peter Gray’s ideas applied well. If I could see it in action I might be more convinced.


  2. I just spent the last few minutes downloading about 10 of Peter Gray’s Psychology Today articles. I want to read them tonight.

    From the flavour that has jumped out at me in the last few minutes….my daughter’s school comes close. Multiage groupings, child driven exploration (theme studies they call it), very few of the conventional school things (we have homework hence my visits here), but no individual desks, no blackboards..no report cards…no testing.

    It works…and so far she adores school…would rather be in school than not. Cried the last day of school in June.


  3. I’ve been thinking some more about this … here’s another formulation:

    In the ideal school, a child would be happy and also learning. I would settle for the occasional not-thrilled-but-doing-necessary-groundwork in some subjects.

    What I won’t settle for is a school where the child is miserable and not learning. And I really won’t settle for a school where misery is believed to be the subject matter. (“We have to put lots of pressure on them this year because there will be even more pressure next year!”)

    Your daughter’s school sounds terrific. What kind of school is it? (In other words, how could I find one like it?)


  4. Darn! Too much of a commute for me. It sounds wonderful, though. And it’s great that you can keep your daughter there through 9th grade. This is my older daughter’s last year at the Quaker school so we have to ask all these questions all over again.


  5. I read those Peter Gray articles last night, and he is really quite pro the Sudbury Valley model of schools….which is probably not a bad concept. He foresees the demise of our current school system which I can only pray he’s correct about….it is barbaric and extremely old fashioned.

    Our school is quite similar in it’s stated philosophy to the Sudbury model but they are closer to a conventional model in terms of how they operate. I consider us lucky to be there but I’m still disillusioned about education as a whole right now and concerned that our children are being led down the same garden path we were.


  6. PsychMom — I too am increasingly disillusioned about education. I am especially discouraged by the gulf between learning and school.

    There is so much I would like my kids to learn. Is school really helping?


  7. To FedUpMom..

    I feel betrayed by my own education as well. This may be a function of where I am in my life, but I know that what I was from age 4 to age 26 was a good student….but I’m not so sure now that I got a good education. Lots of points for slogging at the homework and pleasing teachers but I’m still left wondering……what was it all for, if I’ve spent most of my adult life uninspired by my work but ultimately being stable and grounded and “reliable”. A success by most measures I guess and exactly the kind of person employers love, the government loves (always pays taxes, no civil disobedience), society loves (no morality codes broken). Loved by small children and animals.

    There were some excellent teachers along the way, though and I can name them on one hand and recognize that I internalized a lot of what they taught me. None of them were conventional teachers. Only one sticks out from my university days and I still quote him from time to time.

    I want something different for my daughter. She has a mind of her own and I want her to keep it. Right now I don’t care if she goes to university. I’m losing my focus on high school (she’s only in 3rd grade) and what it’s really for except for getting marks that get you into university..so it’s a quandry for me. As Ken Robinson says, our educational system is geared to producing university professors…..I’m not sure my daughter wants to do that.

    It was all so simple when I believed in the old conventional schooling system. But I’ve read too much now.


  8. I’m not sure where to put this, but here’s a great little article, from someone I don’t always agree with —


    “Parent triangulation” is something we have all experienced. That’s the one where you go in to the principal and say “My child needs X”, and the principal replies “I can’t possibly give you X! All the other parents say they want not-X!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: