The Failure of Schools

Schools make students learn in ways quite different than how they learn in the real world. Because schools were designed around economic considerations, and because curricula are inevitably controlled by the list-makers who want to tell us what everyone should know, school learning has traditionally been something quite different than "real world" learning. Schools have not attempted to provide an environment within which natural learning can operate.

In their eagerness to fill students with knowledge, schools typically try to short-circuit the natural learning process. When we learn naturally, we start by developing an interest in what we are learning about. We try things out and get hands-on experience. We suffer expectation failures and we ask questions. Schools are not built around steps such as these. Instead, they try to cut to the chase. They rush to present answers to questions students have not asked and generalizations about experiences students have not had.

Schools are forever in the position of the parents of a teenager who asks why their child cannot learn from their bad experiences, wondering why the teenager has to repeat all their mistakes. The teenager replies that he has to live his own life and make his own mistakes, without realizing how accurate a picture of learning he really has. Schools cannot simply tell the answers, they have to motivate the questions first. Schools that fail to do this will simply not work.

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