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How a Radical New Teaching Method Could Unleash a Generation of Geniuses -

This is an interesting article from Wired Magazine about a form of Unschooling. Of course it being mainstream media it doesn't mention John Taylor Gatto or his books.

None the less this is a very interesting read: If we are to raise a generation of free thinkers we must let our kids educate themselves fully, and must not allow them to be dumbed down by the government school system.

Full Article: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/

"...Juárez Correa didn’t know it yet, but he had happened on an emerging educational philosophy, one that applies the logic of the digital age to the classroom. That logic is inexorable: Access to a world of infinite information has changed how we communicate, process information, and think. Decentralized systems have proven to be more productive and agile than rigid, top-down ones. Innovation, creativity, and independent thinking are increasingly crucial to the global economy.

And yet the dominant model of public education is still fundamentally rooted in the industrial revolution that spawned it, when workplaces valued punctuality, regularity, attention, and silence above all else. (In 1899, William T. Harris, the US commissioner of education, celebrated the fact that US schools had developed the “appearance of a machine,” one that teaches the student “to behave in an orderly manner, to stay in his own place, and not get in the way of others.”) We don’t openly profess those values nowadays, but our educational system—which routinely tests kids on their ability to recall information and demonstrate mastery of a narrow set of skills—doubles down on the view that students are material to be processed, programmed, and quality-tested. School administrators prepare curriculum standards and “pacing guides” that tell teachers what to teach each day. Legions of managers supervise everything that happens in the classroom; in 2010 only 50 percent of public school staff members in the US were teachers.

The results speak for themselves: Hundreds of thousands of kids drop out of public high school every year. Of those who do graduate from high school, almost a third are “not prepared academically for first-year college courses,” according to a 2013 report from the testing service ACT. The World Economic Forum ranks the US just 49th out of 148 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction. “The fundamental basis of the system is fatally flawed,” says Linda Darling-Hammond, a professor of education at Stanford and founding director of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future. “In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

That’s why a new breed of educators, inspired by everything from the Internet to evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, and AI, are inventing radical new ways for children to learn, grow, and thrive. To them, knowledge isn’t a commodity that’s delivered from teacher to student but something that emerges from the students’ own curiosity-fueled exploration. Teachers provide prompts, not answers, and then they step aside so students can teach themselves and one another. They are creating ways for children to discover their passion—and uncovering a generation of geniuses in the process.

At home in Matamoros, Juárez Correa found himself utterly absorbed by these ideas. And the more he learned, the more excited he became. On August 21, 2011—the start of the school year — he walked into his classroom and pulled the battered wooden desks into small groups. When Paloma and the other students filed in, they looked confused. Juárez Correa invited them to take a seat and then sat down with them.

He started by telling them that there were kids in other parts of the world who could memorize pi to hundreds of decimal points. They could write symphonies and build robots and airplanes. Most people wouldn’t think that the students at José Urbina López could do those kinds of things. Kids just across the border in Brownsville, Texas, had laptops, high-speed Internet, and tutoring, while in Matamoros the students had intermittent electricity, few computers, limited Internet, and sometimes not enough to eat.

“But you do have one thing that makes you the equal of any kid in the world,” Juárez Correa said. “Potential.”

He looked around the room. “And from now on,” he told them, “we’re going to use that potential to make you the best students in the world.”

Paloma was silent, waiting to be told what to do. She didn’t realize that over the next nine months, her experience of school would be rewritten, tapping into an array of educational innovations from around the world and vaulting her and some of her classmates to the top of the math and language rankings in Mexico.

“So,” Juárez Correa said, “what do you want to learn?”"

Full Article: http://www.wired.com/business/2013/10/free-thinkers/

The overlooked John Taylor Gatto:
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling, 10th Anniversary Edition http://www.amazon.com/Dumbing-Down-Curriculum-Compulsory-ebo...

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I started a life in private Ed in 1971

Taught school
Became and administrator
And owned my own private school.
Piaget was one of the foundations in my development of curriculum.
Sylvia Aston-Warner gave me a tool that allowed me to take the worst students and nurture them into high performance people.
If you're truly interested in finding the Holy Grail of powerful education, search out Sylvia Ashton Warner.

Teacher, by Sylvia Ashton-Warner

"That is why I say that this book, however unprofessional or unacademic it may seem, is a book of fundamental significance.
Without exaggeration it may be said that the author has discovered a way of saving humanity from self-destruction. We should not ignore her method because it is so unassuming, so unpretentious. Great changes in the destiny of mankind can be effected only in the minds of little children."

--Herbert Read

"What a dangerous activity reading is; teaching is. All this plastering on of foreign stuff. Why plaster on at all when there's so much inside already. So much locked in?
If only I could get it out and use it as working material.
And not draw it out either. If I had a light enough touch it would just come out under its own volcanic power.
And psychic power, I read in bed this morning, is greater than any other power in the world.
What an exciting and frightening business it would be: even that which squeezes through now is amazing enough. In the safety of the world behind my eyes, where the inspector shade cannot see,
I picture the infant room as one widening crater, loud with
the sound of erupting creativity.
Every subject somehow in a creative vent. What wonderful design of movement and mood! Whet lovely behavior of silk sack clouds!
An organic design. A growing living changing design. The normal and healthful design. Unsentimental and merciless and shockingly beautiful."
- Spinster


indivduals over collectivism


Albert Camus — 'The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.'



Defeat the panda-industrial complex

I am dusk icon. anagram me.

constructivism is not new

This is the "child centered" approach to education championed by

It's been around for a very long time and has served as a way to remove content from the k-12 system in the US.

How exactly can a young child invent enough mathematics to work in a math based profession without first being taught the building blocks to mathematics? Mathematics is unique in that it's much easier to see the fallacy in the approach, though reading is a close second. Each topic in math depends on mastery of the underlying fundamentals before moving on.

What this teaching method encourages is interdependence rather than independence. The group is more important than the individual. It's known for group work, group grades, and holding back the smartest kids so they can act as role models for the slower learners. Is that the society you want?

Basically, I agree with your

Basically, I agree with your sentiment. Kids need to be encouraged to explore for themselves, but I consider reading, writing, and mathematics absolutely necessary basics for further exploration. The problem arises from programming beyond the basics. Get the kids to master the basics and then release them from the hell of state indoctrination to explore for themselves.

Another oldie that someone wants promoted evidently. After this comment, I'll pass and stick to the basics... ;)

This method of teaching

is a disaster! Students sit in a group and discuss books that they haven't read and subjects that they haven't studied. One student usually does all the work and the rest are lost in space!

I am a homeschooler employing

I am a homeschooler employing a mixed approach. I lean more and more unschooling all the time. Coming from a disciplinarian upbringing and a life in the USMC, its been a journey. Most of the nay sayers I'd venture to say are still entrenched authoritarians.

I believe unschooling is the future. That is as more people get a good toe hold in the concepts of liberty and reason we will see more and more of it. I cannot fathom a better way to completely unlock the minds of the youth and tap their creative potential. The unschooled kids I have seen will not accept the yoke! I know a 12 year old who has read Last of the Mohicans and Julius Caesar!

All that said, there is no universally correct path for every body.

Unless I am misunderstanding the gist...


“In 1970 the top three skills required by the Fortune 500 were the three Rs: reading, writing, and arithmetic. In 1999 the top three skills in demand were teamwork, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. We need schools that are developing these skills.”

is simply not true. Most kids entering college today can not complete a freshman level math course, can not read well, and are horrible at writing. The teamwork nonsense is all they are used to which gives them a grade after the majority dump all the work on the one conscientious person in the group. That person completes the assignment and everyone else shares the grade that person earned. I've seen it, experienced it, hated watching it happen. They never learn to problem solve because they aren't allowed to think independently and forget interpersonal skills as long as social networks are all they care about. They can't even put the stupid phone down during class and listen.

Nothing wrong with the three R's. It's HOW it is taught, recognizing that each person has a different learning style. That's why homeschooling is so excellent - you custom tune your teaching to your child's learning style and you certainly don't promote group think.

The law cannot make a wicked person virtuous…God’s grace alone can accomplish such a thing.
Ron Paul - The Revolution

Setting a good example is a far better way to spread ideals than through force of arms. Ron Paul

Why should schools be taking marching orders from corporations?

While I agree with what you said, I think there is a far more serious issue reflected in that quote. We should hope to have education helping children to develop into free-thinking adults (not to be confused with free-thinking children), young adults who will pursue livelihoods in line with their particular talents and interests - which might be working with their hands, related to the arts, AND/or intellectual pursuits - not to groom them to fill vacant seats of those retiring from corporate or government jobs. What a superficial, materialistic view of the value of a human life!

But forgetting that, who knows what the future could bring? What new opportunities might present themselves, what new, unforeseen problems might need to be solved? Even looking at things from a strictly pragmatic point of view, wouldn't we want education to develop capabilities that would prepare children for *whatever* lay ahead? What's in the best interest of children and society, both, is for education to foster capacities, skills, and appreciations that will help children to become well-rounded, literate, creative, clear-thinking, self-motivated, compassionate adults.

P.S. It was never my goal to turn my children into little geniuses. Rather, bottom line, for them to grow up to be free-thinking individuals and good citizens of this earth.

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.
~ John Muir


public schools should NOT be listening to Fortune 500 companies. Who cares what THEY want??? What do PARENTS want for their kids? That's the important question.

If communities want to create a "public" school then, fine. Those who use it should pay for it. Local control.

Get the Federal Gov. out of local schools. TOTALLY.

Get STATE Gov. out of local schools. TOTALLY.

THAT would be revolutionary.


I seem to go back and forth

Between unschooling and the traditional x subjects a day. I let them unschool when they're really interested and working hard on something. Like a commenter said below, you can't just let them watch funny cat videos all day. One issue with unschooling is making sure they cover the material that school kid should know.

Unschooling has a lot of meanings

We homeschool 3. It would not work for our kids, and they're smart, but like most kids would never un-school themselves in math, music, computer science, etc. What prevents unschooling from working? Calculators, youtube, computer games, etc.

Kids are no different than adults, and all adults look for the path of least resistance to achieve an end goal. Kids have a hard time setting realistic goals.

I'm very excited about the changes taking place in education, and love the free information (even advanced college courses) available online.

Big changes are coming, but I've seen a couple of really bad outcomes of kids that were NOT well served by unschooling.

Hi chopinwood, congrats on the homeschooling and the comment! !

Since Michael Nystrom is encouraging to bring our interests here; http://www.dailypaul.com/303189&from=lbp will you share with us some of your homeschooling experiences?


"it is good for the establishment to adopt liberty ideology, but it is not good for those who have already adopted liberty to fall to the feet of the establishment." ~ Annica2

Yes indeed, I'm sure youv'e

Yes indeed, I'm sure youv'e see children not served well by unschooling. And I in fact have seen some children not served by well by homeschooling at all. That's not a strike against homeschooling, rather just that particular family's execution.

I think the barrier to effective unschooling for most is logic. Even though, likely most homeschoolers persue some critical thinking cirriculum (and certainly more than the state schools), it is a bit of a conundrum considering the the parents in most cases are not skilled thinkers. To boot, collectiveism is still rampant in the homeschooling community. It might be Christian collectivism but still collectivism just the same. Unschooling is antithetical to collectivism and certainly that would be a major reason for its unpopularity.