school educate play exploration

The Real Problem with Education Today?
freedom development

Kids Hate School -- and Here's Why

Author Peter Gray, who wrote Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, talks about why children today have such trouble learning. If people liked learning, would they pay attention to geonomics? This 2013 excerpt is from AlterNet, Apr 8.

by Alyssa Figueroa

My son was not free in school to follow his own interests, ask his own questions, solve problems in his own way, and present his own ideas honestly.

Children educate themselves—largely through free play and exploration—when they are free to do so and are provided with a setting that optimizes their ability to do so. We, as a society, are stunting children’s social, emotional, and intellectual development by depriving them of the freedom they need to play and explore.

The decline in children’s freedom to play and explore, undirected by adults, has been gradual over the past 50 or 60 years. This gradual decline has been accompanied by a gradual increase in anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders in children. Because the change is gradual, people don’t see it.

Rates of anxiety, depression, drug abuse, and general cynicism are remarkably high among children and adolescents in middle-class and upper-class families, especially those in which the parents are carting their kids from one adult-directed activity to another and are insisting on high grades and honors in school. These young people are seeing life as a series of hoops to jump through, hoops set by the adults in their world. They are not seeing life as a joyful adventure in which they are in control.

My son went on to college and did well there, though he claims that much of college was a waste of time and that he educated himself much more by reading books that were not assigned than by doing assignments.

To read more

JJS: The authors above did not mention alternatives such as vouchers or flex time for students (perhaps because they could not risk the implied criticism of public schools in a leftwing publication?) So we’ll explore where the authors feared to tread. What if schools weren’t gobbling up so much tax money? What if society eradicated poverty so all parents could afford to hire teachers for their kids? Would kids retain the love of learning into adulthood? Then they might develop an interest in geonomics. And then the world would be so, so different.


Editor Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics and helped prepare a course for the UN on geonomics. To take the “Land Rights” course, click here .

Also see:

What's Driving College Costs Higher?

Could a new kind of tenure create security?

How Much Leeway Should Bureaucrats Have to Explore?

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