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Aligning Schools With How Children Naturally Learn

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Abstract

In order for educational settings to be most effective and successful they need to be aligned with how children naturally learn. A child's social and cultural environment is what supports their brain’s innate ability to develop skills and construct knowledge. What modern research into neuroplasticity has shown is that children’s brains are wired for learning from birth, and that supportive experiences provided by parents and teachers must be aligned with these natural ways of learning for a child’s development to proceed successfully. Nature and nurture work together synergistically, both sides playing essential roles. - Chase, C. (2018). Aligning Schools With How Children Naturally Learn. Studies in English Language and Literature, 59 (1), 37-53.
Aligning&Schools&With&How&Children&Naturally&Learn&
Christopher*Chase,*2018*
Studies*in*English*Language*and*Literature,*59*(1),*37-53.*
*
Introduction&
In*order*for*educational*settings*to*be*most*effective*and*successful*they*need*to*be*
aligned* with* how* children* naturally* learn.* A* child's* innate* curiosity,* resourcefulness,*
creativity,* playfulness,* individuality,* sociability,* imaginativeness,* enthusiasm,*
intelligence,* and*love* of*learning* have*to*be* respected* and* supported*(Denning,*2011;*
Hopfenberg* et* al.,* 1993;* Gray,* 2013;* Montessori,* 1986;* Robinson* &* Aronica,* 2016;*
Senge*et* al.,*2000).* This*isn’t*rocket*science;*it’s* just* basic*wise*parenting* and* effective*
teaching.* For* tens* of* thousands* of* years* our* human* ancestors* learned* from* their*
parents,* aunts,* uncles* and* members* of* the* local* community.* Apprenticeship*
relationships,* self-directed* practice*and* cooperative* learning* are* ways* that*humans*
learn*naturally,*assisted*by*skilled*elders,*friends,*parents,*neighbors,*artisans*and*peers*
(Chase,*2000;*Gardner,*1991;*Rogoff,*1990*&*1993).*
Children’s*social* and* cultural* environment* is* what* supports* their* brain’s* innate*
ability* to* develop* skills* and* learn* (Bronfenbrenner,* 1993;*Chase,* 2000;* Comer,* 1988;*
Dubin,* 2013;* Ford,* 1992;*Ford*&* Lerner,* 1992;*Hopfenberg*et* al.,* 1993;*Kolb,* 2014;*
Gardner,*1991;*Rogoff,*1990).*What* modern* research*into*!"#$%&'()*+,+*-*has*shown*is*
that*children’s*brains*are*wired*for*learning*from*birth,*and*that*supportive*experiences*
provided*by* parents* and* teachers*must*be*aligned*with*these*natural* ways*of*learning*
for* a* child’s* development* to* proceed* successfully* (Chase,* 2000;* Ford,* 1992;* Ford* &*
Lerner,* 1992;* Kolb,* 2014;* Robinson* &* Aronica,* 2016;* Senge* et* al.,* 2000).*Nature* and*
nurture* work* together* )-!"$.+)*+,(''-,* both* sides* playing* essential* roles.* Even* with*
something* as* complex* as* language* learning,* it* is* the* child’s* brain* that* creatively*
constructs* skills*and* organizes* knowledge* gathered* during* interactive*social*
experiences,*free*play*and*repeated*practice*(Chase,*2000;*Flavel,*1985).*
*
Understanding&How&Our&Brains&Learn&
Over* the* last* hundred*years,* researchers* in* cognitive* science,* education* and*
developmental* psychology* have* discovered* some* extraordinary*things* about* how* the*
human* brain* works,* how* children’s*minds* are* naturally* configured* to* develop* skills,*
think*creatively*and*continuously*learn*(Bruner,*1974;*Chase,*2000;*Ford,*1992;*Ford*&*
Lerner,*1992;*Gardner,*1991;*Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*1966;*Robinson*&*Aronica,*2016;*
Senge*et* al.,*2000).**Maria*Montessori,* John* Dewey*and* Je an* Piaget’s* insights* into* the*
"/&"$+"!*+('*and*,%!)*$#,*+0+)**nature* of* learning* are* now* supported* by* empirical*
evidence,* by* actual* images* of* human*brains* engaged* in* specific* patterns* of* cognition.*
The*ideas* of* progressive* educators* concerning* learner* autonomy,* creativity* and* self-
discovery*now*make*even*greater*sense*(Kolb,*2014).***
*
Children*should*be*able*to*do*their*own*experimenting*and*their*own*research.*
Teachers,* of* course,* can*guide* them* by* providing* appropriate* materials,* but*
the* essential* thing* is* that* in* order* for* a* child* to* understand* something,* he*
must*construct*it*himself,*he*must*re-invent*it.*(Piaget,*1972,*p.*27).*
*
Constructing* complex* knowledge* representations* and* skill* patterns* is* what* the*
brain* does* best;* it*is*designed* for* continuous* growth* and* learns* from* direct*
observation,* practice* and* experience* (Piaget,* 1972;* Ford* &* Ford,* 1987).* Since* early*
childhood,* our* brains* have* constructed* hundreds* of* unique* skill* patterns,* what* the*
developmental*psychologist*Donald*Ford*(1987)*calls*1"2(0+%$3"&+)%4"3),2"5(*(.*These*
correspond* to* complex* social,* emotional,* cultural* and* knowledge* schema,* mental*
models*our* brains*construct*that* represent*and*organize*information*about* the* world*
(Ford,*1987;*Ford*&*Ford,*1987).*
There*is*a*popular*misconception*that*we* each*use*only* about* 10%*of*our*brains.*
That*is*not*quite*accurate.*Actually,*while*we*probably*use*less*than*40%*of*the*brain*at*
any*given*moment,*the*patterns*and*regions*of*activation*shift*continuously*throughout*
the*day.*These*PET*scans*(below)*taken*by*researcher*Marcus*Raichle*(Ronan,*1993,*pp.*
208-209)* can* help* to* make* this* discovery* easier* to* understand.* For* every* kind* of*
structured* activity* we*engage* in* there* is* a* corresponding* )6+''3&(**"$!*of* cognitive*
activity*in* our* brainscoordinating*specific* sensory* input,* thoughts,* knowledge,*
emotions* and* movements* of* the* body* (Chase,* 2000;* Ford,* 1987;* Ford* &* Ford,* 1987;*
Raichle,*1994;*Ronan,*1993).
*
*
*
Our* brains* have* constructed* unique* skill* patterns* for* each* activity* we* have*
repeatedly*engaged* in,* such*as*reading,* speaking,* cooking,* golfing,* driving,* bike* riding,*
algebra* problem-solving,* violin* playing,* etc.* (Ford,* 1987;* Ford* &* Ford,* 1987).* Every*
skill,* worldview* and* ability* we* have* was* )"'78,%!)*$#,*"4*from* countless* hours* of*
experience,* observation* and* practiceby* carefully* applying* knowledge,*methods* and*
techniquesrepeating* actions* over* and* over* again* until* we* developed* progressively*
higher*levels*of*comprehension*and*skill*mastery*(Ford,*1987;*Ford*&*Ford,*1987;*Ford*
&*Lerner,*1993;*Montessori,*1972;*Piaget,*1972).*
As*one*might*imagine,*this*understanding*has*important*implications*for*learning*
and*education.* Our* brains* are* far* more* creative* and* flexible*than* any* computer* or*AI*
program* that* exists* in* the* world* today.* They* are* self-organizing* adaptive* systems*
designed* to* self-construct* integrated* knowledge/skill* patterns* (Ford* &* Ford,* 1987).*
This*is*what*scientists*are*referring*to*when*they*speak*of*the*brain’s*!"#$%&'()*+,+*-,*its*
natural* ability* to* grow* new* skills*and* continuously* learn.* Young* children* are* “wired”*
from* birth* to* master* skills* this* way,* intuitively.* This* is* the* process* by* which* we* all*
learned*how*to*walk,*ride*a*bike*and*speak*our*native*language.*
Formal* school* instruction* will* not*be* successful* if* the* brain’s*natural* self-
constructive*learning*process*is*not*respected*and*encouraged.*In*order*for*useful*skills*
and*comprehension*to*develop,*a*learner’s*self-directed*practice*needs*to*be*supported,*
“knowledge”* must* be* applied*creatively,* in* meaningful* situations*(Chase,* 2000;* Ford,*
1987;*Montessori,*1972;* Senge* et* al.,*2000).*It*is*only* through*repeated*application* of*
“information* about* something”* that* ideas* are* transformed* into* deep* comprehension,*
creative*ability*and*“real*world”* skills*(Bloom,* et*al,* 1956;*Bruner,* 1974;*Chase,* 2000;*
Ford,*1987;*Gardner,*1991;*Gray,*2013;*Kolb,*2014,*Montessori,*1972).*
For*this*reason*it*is*essential*for*children*of*all* ages* to* enjoy* and*be*interested*in*
what*they*are*learning,*to*concentrate*their*attention*and*experience*positive*emotions*
while* they*are*doing* something*(Chase,* 2000;* Ford,* 1987;* Gray,* 2013;* Montessori,*
1972).* As* a* person’s* skill* level* increases* and* they* meet* challenges* (that* require*
activation* of* those* skills)* the* result* is* a* highly* enjoyable* 7'%9*state* of* consciousness*
(Csikszentmihalyi,* 1990),* an* optimal* form* of* experience* where* focused* attention* and*
positive*emotions*arise*when*that*specific*activity*is*engaged*in.*The*7'%93"/&"$+"!,"*is*
intrinsically* rewarding,* sometimes* transcendent.* There*is*a* sense* of* timelessness* and*
deep*connectedness* with*the*activity* and* context,* as* our* full* attention* is* given* to* the*
task*at*hand.**
This* is* how* skills* are* mastered,* the* mind* being* stretched* an d* exercised* through*
real*life*experiences.*Abilities*develop,*and*then* through*creative*application,*repeated*
practice*and*free*play,*they*grow*further*(Ford*&*Lerner,*1993;*Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*
1972).* *This*is* what* happens* when*members* of* a* rock*band*or* orchestra*play*music,*
when*a*skilled*swimmer*moves*through*the*water,*when* a*group*of* friends* is* playing*
basketball* or* a* child* who* loves* to* draw* is* drawing.*Motivational* researcher* Carol*
Dweck* (2015)* describes*such* experiences* as* evidence* of* a* .$%9*235+!4)"*,* a* positive*
attitude* toward* learning* that* leads* to* even* more* practice* time,* greater* skill*
development*and*eventual*mastery.**
Unfortunately,* modern* public* schools* were* not* built* to* promote* creative* flow*
experiences* or* the* mastery* of* a* wide* range* of* useful* life* skills.* Our* current* school*
systems*were* designed* in*the*early* part* of*the*20th* century,*using* what* some*call*the*
7(,*%$-3 5%4"'*of* education.* The* purpose* was* to* create* good* workers,* teach* children*
how* to* work* hard,* memorize* information,* follow* instructions* and* obey* authority*
(Denning,*2011;*Gatto,*2001*&*2003;*Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*1972;*Senge*et*al.,*2000).*
*
Aligning&Schools&with&How&Children&Naturally&Learn&
*Factory-style* schools* were* modeled* on* industrial* production* lines* and* set* up* as*
selection*and* sorting* systems* for* children.* Teachers* would* provide* information* and*
then*assess*every*child*at*the*same*time*in*order*to*locate*those*who*scored*highest*on*
written* testsnot* to* provide* meaningful* experiences,* or* allow* for* self-directed*
learning* by*students* (Denning,*2011;*Gatto,*2003;*Gray,*2013;* Montessori,*1972).*The*
factory* model* of* management*is* designed* to* provide* rewards* and* punishments,* to*
measure*and*sort*children*by*grades*and*test*performance,*creating*society’s*“winners”*
and* “losers.”* Those* who* continuously* fail* may* eventually* “drop* out”* or* leave* school*
without* coming* even* close* to* developing* their* full*potential* (Comer,* 1988;* Denning,*
2011;*Dubin,*2013;*Gatto,*2003;*Montessori,*1972).*
In* such*a* highly* competitive* environment*many* students* will* naturally* feel*
discouraged,* especially* those* who* receive* low* test* scores*and* are* compared*
unfavorably* with* peers.* They* may*feel* anxiety*and* confusion,* losing*confidence* and*
interest*in* school* subjects*(Comer,* 1988;* Dubin,* 2013;* Gardner,* 1991;* Montessori,*
1972).* Once* a* child* “turns* off”* and* no* longer* pays* attention,* he* or* she* will*be* more*
likely*to*dislike*school*and*experience*boredom*in*classrooms.*After*that,*many*children*
will*try*to*avoid*a*subject*area*rather*than*spend*any*extra*time*with*it.**
Back*in*the*1930s,*the*educator*John*Dewey*(1938)*described*such*experiences*as*
being* 5+)"4#,(*+0",* inhibiting* rather* than* encouraging* further* growth* and* learning.*
Unfortunately,* this*highly* competitive*and* authoritarian*model* of* education* has*
dominated*since*the*beginning*of*the*last*century,*with*millions*of*students*all*over*the*
world*dropping*out*of*school*or*developing*a*dislike*for*learning*(Chase,*2000;*Comer,*
1988;*Gatto,*2003;*Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*1972).**
Fortunately,*not* all* education*systems* have* been* designed* this*way.* For* decades,*
Maria* Montessori’s*schools* have* shown* great* success* with*a* learner-centered*
constructivist* approach,* encouraging* self-direction,* mastery,* creativity* and* enjoyable*
7'%9*experiences*for*children*(Montessori,*1966*&*1972).*Likewise,*the* Suzuki* method*
of*teaching*music* is* based*on* the* idea*that*students* need* to*enjoy* playing* in* order*to*
motivate*them*to*put*in*practice*time.*Suzuki*(1968)*also*stressed*the* essential*role*of*
social* relationships* and* parents* as* models* of* learning.* Young*children* who* see* their*
mother*or*father*happily*playing*the*violin*will*want*to*join*them*and*learn*how*to*play*
too.*Once* children* become* older* they* are* naturally* drawn*to* play* music* with* other*
children,*not*in*a* competitive* way,* but*as*a* source* of* enjoyment.*According*to* Suzuki,*
“What* the* children* enjoy* most* is* the* group* playing.* They* play* with* children*who* are*
more* advanced* than* they* are;* the* influence* is* enormous* and* is* marvelous* for* their*
training.*This*is*the*real*talent*education”*(1968,*p.*96).*
European*apprenticeship*models*and*traditional*Asian*arts*instructionsuch*as*in*
karate,* tea* ceremony* and* calligraphytake* a* mastery* approach,* where* learners* are*
assisted,* instructed* and* motivated* during*social* interactions* with* more*skilled* adults*
and* peers.* All* over* the* world,* successful* parents,* coaches* and* teachers* have* long*
understood*this*essential*relationship*of*social*support,*interest,*skill*development*and*
motivation*(Chase,*2000;*Gardner,*1993).**
When* mastery,* teamwork*and* skill* practice*are*the* focus,* each* child’s* innate*
potential*to*learn*and*grow*is*respected*and*given*a*chance*to*blossom.*Adults*are*very*
careful* not* to* compare* learners*to* one* another.* There* is* less* emphasis*placed*on*
external* deadlines*and* tests,* but* more* on* practice,* skill* development,* creativity*and*
effort,*putting*in*timenot*watching* it* (Csikszentmihalyi,* 1990;* Dalporto,*2013;*Gray,*
2013;*Montessori,*1966*&*1972).*
That*does*not*mean*that*external*tests*or*competitions*do*not*play*a*role;*they*can,*
but*there*is*no*rush,*no*expectation*that*all*learners*should*develop*skills*at* the*same*
speed.* Test*situations*can* motivate* students*when* they* are* assessing* skills* already*
there,*but*it*is*demotivating*if*the*purpose*is*to*punish*or*make*comparisons*to*others.*
What*is*absolutely*crucial*is*generating*interest*and*motivation,*as*these*translate*into*
concentration,* effort* and* progressively* higher* levels* of* mastery*(Chase,* 2000;*
Csikszentmihalyi,*1990;*Ford,*1992;*Montessori,*1972;*Suzuki,*1968).*Current*efforts*to*
transform*factory*model*schools*into*more*creative*learner-centered*communities*take*
this*approach,*and*have*been*highly*effective*(O’Neil,*1995;*Senge*et*al.,*2000).*Finland’s*
successful*national*education*model*is*a*good*example:*
*
The*emphasis*in*Finnish*schools*is*on*cooperation,*not*competition.*Nina*Brander,*
a* Finnish* teacher* with* 17* years* of* experience,* says* this* is* a* key* to* Finland’s*
success.* “In* Finland* we* orientate* more* towards* learning* and* working* than*
towards* marking* and* evaluating ,”*sh e* said.* Schools* aren’t* ranked* and* they’re* all*
equally* funded* so* parents* can* rest* assured* that* whether* they* live* in* a* city* or* a*
small*country*town,*whether*they*are*wealthy*or*not,*their*child*will*get*the*same,*
awesome* education.* “We* have* an* equal* elementary-school* education* for* all*
children,”*said*Ms.*Brander.”*(Dalporto,*2013).*
*
What* Finland* has* done* can* be* implemented* anywhere.* During* the* late* 1980s* and*
early* 1990s* I* worked* with* the* research* and* development* team* of* Henry*Levin’s*
:,,"'"$(*"43 ;,2%%'),* a* successful* school* transformation* project* started* at* Stanford*
University.* Levin’s* program* was* one* among* many* innovative* reform* projects* at* the*
time* that* promoted* learner-centered* education*by* transforming* social* relationships,*
values,*expectations*and*cultures*in*schools*(Brandt,*1992;*Hopfenberg,*et*al.,*1993).**
Beginning*in*the*late*1960s,*psychologist*Howard*Gardner*developed*<$%=",*3>"$%*at*
Harvard,* incorporating* his* theory* of* 5#'*+&'"3 +!*"''+."!,")*(Gardner* &* Hatch,* 1989),*
which*views*children*as*possessing*a*diverse*range*of*potential*skills*and*intelligences.*
Also* launched* in* the* 1960s,* Yale* psychiatrist* James* Comer’s* groundbreaking* ;,2%%'3
?"0"'%&5"!*3<$%.$(5*has*consistently*shown*itself*to*be*highly*effective*with*poor*and*
minority*communities*(Comer,*1988;*Dubin,*2013).**
Vicky*Colbert’s*@),#"'(3A#"0(*model*of* democratic*education*(Kirp,*2015),* B('4%$73
;,2%%')*(Business* Insider,* 2017),* C('*+5%$"3 ;,2%%'3 7%$3 *2"3 :$*)3(Robinson* &* Aronica,*
2016),*Deborah*Meier’s*D+))+%!3E+''3;,2%%'*(Tom*Valens,*2013),*Peter*Senge’s*;,2%%')3()3
F"($!+!.3 G$.(!+H(*+%!)* (O’Neil,* 1995;* Senge* et* al.,* 2000),* D%!*"))%$+3 ;,2%%')3
(Montessori,*1966*&* 1972),* I+$,'"3%73I%#$(."J3A(*+0"3:5"$+,(!3@4#,(*+%!*(Brendtro,*et*
al.,* 2002)* and* the* K"..+%3 @5+'+(*method*developed* in* Italy*(Gandini,* 1993),* are*
examples* of*highly* successful* learner-centered* approaches*aligned* with* how* children*
naturally*learn.*
While*innovative* learner-centered* educational* models* require* extensive*
collaboration* and* creativity,* many* successful* parents* and* teachers* have* intuitively*
understood*(and*implemented)*similar* approaches.*Across* the*span* of*human* history,*
traditional* trade* apprenticeships,* crafts-making* and* arts* education* had* to* be* aligned*
with* the* natural* way* young* people* learned* in* order* to* be* effective*(Gardner,* 1991;*
Rogoff,*1990;*Senge*et*al.,*2000).**
*
Indeed,* apprenticeship* may* well* be* the* means* of* instruction* that* builds* most*
effectively* on* the*ways* in* which* most* young* people* learn.* Such* forms* of*
instruction* are* heavily* punctuated* with* sensorimotor* experiences* and* with* the*
contextualized*use*of*first-order*forms*of*symbolization,*such*as*natural*language*
and*simple* drawings*and* gestures.* To* the* extent*that* they*feature* more* formal*
notations*or*concepts,*these*are*introduced*to*the*learner*directly*in* the*context*
in*which*they*are*wanted*and*the*learner*sees*for*himself*the*ways*in*which*they*
may* be* applied.* Here* the* differences* from* formal* schooling* are* most* salient.*
(Gardner,*1991,*p.*124).*
*
All*of*us*have*applied*our* brain’s*intuitive*understanding*of*the* learning*process*as*
we* have* mastered* various* skills* over* the* years.* Those* who* have* raised* families*
successfully*have*facilitated*and*observed*this*kind*of*learning*with*their*own*children.*
It* seems* to* be*common* sense,* because* we* know * this*from * our* own* observations* and*
experiences.* Our* brains* evolved*to* learn* this* way,* in* meaningful* situations* where*
knowledge*grows*simultaneously*(and*continuously)*with*the*mastery*of*skills*(Chase,*
2000;*Ford,*1987;*Ford*&*Ford,*1987;*Gardner,*1991;*Gray,*2013;*Piaget,*1972).*
Alas,*during* the* last*decade* public*education* departments* in* the*United* States* and*
other* nations* have* ignored* most* of* these* innovative* methods* and* creative* learner-
centered* programs.* They* are* up* and* running* beautifully* over* in* many*Scandinavian*
nations*(and* at*the*elite*private*schools*for* children*of* the* wealthy)*but* are*no*longer*
being* funded,* celebrated* or* emphasized*for* the* public*in* the* USA.* With* A%3 I2+'43 F"7*3
C"2+!4,* K(,"3 *%3 *2"3 L%&*and* I%55%!3 I%$",* there* has* been* a* greater* emphasis* on*
standardized* curriculums,* nationwide* testing*and* data* collection.* Simultaneously,*
private* charter* schools* were* introduced* as* a* way* for* investors* to* profit*from* public*
education*funding*(Chase,*2015;*Sirota,*2011).***
Now* there* seems* to* be* a* big* push* by* both* the* financial* sector* and* IT* industry* to*
promote* &"$)%!('+H"43'"($!+!.*via* digital* devices,* such* as* tablets,* personal* computers*
and*smartphones*(Hensinger,*2017).*This* focus*on*AI*programs,*computers*and*digital*
technologies* is* being* marketed* as* a* m ore* learner-centered* approach,* yet*ignores* the*
way* children*naturally* learn* by* in teracting* creatively* in* diverse* social* situations* and*
real-world*environments.*Many* parents* and* educators* are* also* quite*alarmed* by* what*
appear* to* be* attempts* to* collect* and*monetize* student* information* that*should* be*
private*(Chase,*2017;*Hensinger,*2017;*Talmage,*2017).***
Children*learn*things*every*day*of*their*lives*and*in*a*wide*variety*of* ways.*What*is*
ignored* by* standardized* testing* and* “personalized”* learning* technologies*is* that*
education*is*not*something* that* happens* the* same* way* for*each*child,*or*that*needs* to*
be*constantly*measured*and*monitored.*The*very*act*of*measuring*can*inhibit*learning,*
especially*when*students*are*compared*to*each*other*and*judged*as*superior*or*inferior*
in*ability*(Gatto,*2001*&*2003;*Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*1972).**
Young*learners* throughout*history*have*developed*their*skills*independent*of*large*
institutions,* testing*and* adult* monitoring.* To* truly* transform* education* in* the* 21st*
century,*children*need*to* be* given* social*support,*adequate*resources*and* the* creative*
freedom* to* learn* (Comer,* 1988;* Gatto,* 2001;* Hopfenberg* et* al.,* 1993;* Kohn,* 2015;*
Montessori,* 1972).* Most* importantly,* they* would* benefit* from* a* system*designed* to*
help*all*students*maintain*a*lifelong*love*of*learning.*
*
The* goal* needs* to* shift* from* one* of* making* a* system* that* teaches* children* a*
curriculum* more* efficiently* to* one* of* making*the* system* more* effective* by*
inspiring* lifelong* learning* in* students,* so* that* they* are* able* to* have* full* and*
productive* lives* in* a* rapidly* shifting* economy.* This* is* a* shift* from* running* the*
system*for*the*sake*of*the*system*(“You*study*what*we*tell*you*to*study,*when*we*
tell*you,*and*how*we*tell*you,*and*at*a*pace*that*we*determine”)*to*a*focus*on*the*
ultimate*goal*of*learning*(“Our*goal*is*to*inspire*our*students*to*become*life-long*
learners*with*a*love*of*education,*so*that*they*will*be*able*to*learn*whatever*they*
have*to”).* All* partiesteachers,* administrators,* unions,* parents* and* students
need*to*embrace*the*new*goal.*(Denning,*2011).*
*
Transforming&Schools&from&Institutions&into&Communities&&
Understanding* how* to* continuously* improve* one’s* abilities* and* broaden*
knowledge* (the* process* of* lifelong* learning)* is* far* more* important* then* getting* the*
“correct”* answers* for* artificial* testing* or* technology* situations.* Children* grow* and*
thrive*when*given*the*opportunity*to*collaborate*with*others,*participate*in*meaningful*
projects*and*develop*skills*in* playful*and*creative*ways*that*match* with*their*interests*
(Gray,* 2013;* Hopfenberg,* et* al.,* 1993;* Kohn,* 2015;* Montessori,* 1972;* O’Neil,* 1995;*
Senge*et* al.,*2000).* A*great* deal* of*learning*and* mastery*happens*outside* classrooms.*
Children*need* time* to* practice* activities* (such* as* reading,* drawing,* sports,* playing* a*
musical*instrument)*independently*and*in*the*real* world,*in*order*for*their* brains*and*
bodies*to*develop*creative*and*useful*skills.**
Schools*do*not*need*to*be*competitive*and*punitive*places,*and*there*is*no*need*for*
computer-based*curriculums*that*focus*primarily*on*data*collection.*Learner*autonomy,*
choice,*self-direction*and*privacy*should*be* respected* (Gray,*2013;*Montessori,*1972).*
To*help*students*be*successful*in*their*lives,*both*learner*autonomy*and*positive*social*
relationships*need*to*be*made*a*priority.*Children*learn*teamwork*skills*by*engaging*in*
creative*and* meaningful*projects* with* others..* The* Silicon* Valley* executives*who* send*
their*children*to*Waldorf*schools* (Business*Insider,*2017)*understand*this.*Yet*it*is*not*
the*model*their*industry*is*selling*the*rest*of*the*world.*
It*is*extremely*invasive*to*constantly*test*and*measure*children,*to*use*technology*
to*collect*data*from*them,*compare*them*to*one*another,*to*expect*them*all*to*learn*the*
exact*same*things*(Chase,*2017;*Hensinger,*2017;*Montessori,*1972).**This*is*not*how*
children’s*bodies,*hearts*and*brains*were*designed*by*evolution*to*learn.*It*is*not*how*
the*most*creative*human*beings*in*history*developed*their*talents,*or*how*most*of*us*
developed*the*skills*and*abilities*that*are*most*meaningful*to*us.**
Whether* reading* books* for* pleasure,* dancing,* drawing,* playing* a* musical*
instrument,* tending* a* garden,* raising* animals,* putting* together* a*school* musical* or*
playing*a*sport*with*friendsit*is*the*practice*time*we*put*into*activities*we*enjoy*that*
leads*to*the*highest*levels*of*talent*development*and*mastery.*What*matters*most*is*that*
children* enjoy* becoming* skillful,* that* learning* is* pleasurable*and* meaningful* to* them.*
This*is*common* sense.* It*is*also* what* research*in* learning* and* child* development*has*
shown*to*be*true.**
Testing* a* child’s* knowledge* on* paper* (or* by* computer)* does* not* tell* us* whether*
they* know* how* to* apply* that* knowledge*creatively* in* meaningful* and* challenging*
situations.* Knowing*something* for* written*examinations*is* meaningless* if*learners*do*
not*have*the*skills*or* experience* to* apply*that*knowledge* effectively*in* the*real* world*
and* in* collaboration* with* others.* The*challenge* of* education* now*is* to* evolve*an*
outmoded* and* mechanistic* model* of* schooling.* Love* and* respect* for* the* self-directed*
learning* of* young*people* needs* to*be*the* “common*core”*of* the* equation*(Montessori,*
1972;*Senge*et*al.,*2000).**
*
This*then*is*the*first*duty*of*an*educator:*to*stir*up*life*but*leave*it*free*to*develop.*
For* such* a* delicate* mission* there* is* need,* however,* of* a* great* art* which* will*
suggest* the* proper* time* and* limits* of* one’s*interventions.* This* will* prevent* the*
teacher* from* disturbing* or* misdirecting,* instead* of* assisting,* a* soul* which* is*
coming*to*life*and*which*will*live*by*virtue*of*its*own*efforts.*(Montesssori,*1972,*
p.*111).**
*
As* educator* Ken* Robinson* has* described*(Robinson* &* Aronica,* 2016),* a* ,$"(*+0"3
.$())$%%*)3 $"0%'#*+%!*in* public* education* is* already* underway,* but* it* needs* to* be*
acknowledged,*supported,*nurtured*and*financed.*Children*grow*and*learn*successfully*
when*they*are*cherished*members* of* communities,*where*the* adults*who* guide* them*
also*respect*their* individuality*and* care* about*them*(O’Neil,*1995;*Senge*et* al.,*2000).*
There*are*no*tests*or*AI*programs*that*can*measure*or*predict*the*future*life*potential*of*
a*child.**
Authoritarian* models* of* school* management* need* to* be* dismantled* or* creatively*
transformed.*It*is*a*dehumanizing*system*of*standardization*and*top-down*control*that*
is*out*of*synch*with*children’s*natural*ways*of*learning,*which*ignores*the*essential*role*
of* local* communities* and* cultures* in* education* (O’Neil,* 1995;* Senge* et* al.,* 2000).*
Children* are* most* likely* to* thrive* when* they* are*highly* motivated,* confident,*
encouraged* to* be* creative,* learn*how* to* work* well* with* others,* enjoy* mastering* new*
skills*and*feel*socially*supported*(Comer,*1988;*Gardner,*1993;*Hopfenberg*et*al.,*1993;*
Robinson*&*Aronica,*2016;*Senge*et*al.,*2000).*
As* described*in* this* paper,* numerous* examples* of* innovative* successful* learner-
centered* education* have* been* developed* over* the* last* hundred* years.* Rather* then*
investing* in*tests* and* technology* th at* create*profits*for* investors* and* corporations,*it*
would*be*wiser*to*provide*a* greater*flow* of* resources*into*impoverished*communities*
and*to* increase*funding* for* successful* innovative* programs* that* already* exist.* When*
collaborative* creativity,* love,* playfulness,* curiosity,* autonomy*and* joy* support*
children’s*learning,* anything* is* possible.* That’s*what* our* ancestors* knew*and* what* all*
the*research*evidence* tells*us*now.*For*as*Aristotle* put*it,*“Educating*the*mind*without*
educating*the*heart*is*no*education*at*all.”*
*
Note:3<($*)3%73*2+)3&(&"$3 9"$"3%$+.+!(''-3)2($"43()3*9%31'%.3 &%)*)39$+**"!3+!3MNOP3 Q3 MNORS3 "!*+*'"43
TU!4"$)*(!4+!.3 E%93 G#$3 C$(+!)3 F"($!V3 (!43 TE%93 I2+'4$"!3 A(*#$(''-3 F"($!WV3 L2"3 *"/*3 2()3 1""!3
5"$."43*%."*2"$S3"/&(!4"43(!43"4+*"4S39+*23,+*(*+%!)3(44"4W3
*
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*
... The dominant system of formal schooling since the beginning of the last century is sometimes called teacher-centered education ( 教師中心型教育 ), test-driven education ( テスト主導型教育 ), direct instruction, factory model schooling or industrial era schooling. This is where teachers administer "essential knowledge" to large batches of same-age children simultaneously, the students listening quietly while seated at desks (Chase, 2018;Gatto, 2003;Montessori, 1972;Robinson, 2010). After instruction has been completed the children are given tests. ...
... While on the surface this approach seems to be about transmitting "knowledge" to children, there is also an unspoken "hidden curriculum" being taught (Chomsky, 2015;Gatto, 2003;Robinson, 2010). Such schooling teaches youth to obey authority, to comply with instructions, to be willing to engage in difficult activities that often seem meaningless, and to accept that society is comprised of people with different levels of talent, rank, power and social status (Chase, 2018; ( 学習者中心型教育 ), child-centered education ( 児童中心教育 ), studentcentered learning, progressive education, whole child education or the mastery model of education (Chase, 2018;Comer, 1988;Dewey, 1938;Hopfenberg et al., 1993;Gray, 2013;Montessori, 1966;O'Neil, 1995;Robinson & Aronica, 2016;Senge et al., 2000). Learner-centered education takes a constructivist approach-focused on deep understanding, collaboration, autonomy, creative thinking, skill development and support for each child's personal interests (Chase, 2018;Bruner, 1974;Kolb, 2014;Piaget, 1972). ...
... While on the surface this approach seems to be about transmitting "knowledge" to children, there is also an unspoken "hidden curriculum" being taught (Chomsky, 2015;Gatto, 2003;Robinson, 2010). Such schooling teaches youth to obey authority, to comply with instructions, to be willing to engage in difficult activities that often seem meaningless, and to accept that society is comprised of people with different levels of talent, rank, power and social status (Chase, 2018; ( 学習者中心型教育 ), child-centered education ( 児童中心教育 ), studentcentered learning, progressive education, whole child education or the mastery model of education (Chase, 2018;Comer, 1988;Dewey, 1938;Hopfenberg et al., 1993;Gray, 2013;Montessori, 1966;O'Neil, 1995;Robinson & Aronica, 2016;Senge et al., 2000). Learner-centered education takes a constructivist approach-focused on deep understanding, collaboration, autonomy, creative thinking, skill development and support for each child's personal interests (Chase, 2018;Bruner, 1974;Kolb, 2014;Piaget, 1972). ...
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This article compares and contrasts two very different paradigms of education. The dominant system of formal schooling is sometimes called teacher-centered education ( 教師中心型教育 ), test-driven education ( テスト主導型教育 ), direct instruction, factory model schooling or industrial era schooling. Alongside the test-driven factory model, a very different educational paradigm has co-existed. This is sometimes called learner-centered education ( 学習者中心型教育 ), child-centered education ( 児童中心教育 ), student- centered learning, progressive education, whole child education or the mastery model of education. Chase, C. (2018). The Learner-Centered Revolution: Shifting Paradigms in Education.. Studies in English Language and Literature, 52 (2), 29-41.
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Rationale for Motivational Systems Theory Theoretical Foundation for Motivational Systems Theory The Living Systems Framework Defining Motivation and Its Role in Effective Human Functioning Personal Goals Directing and Organizing Behavior Through Cognitive Representations of Desired and Undesired Outcomes Personal Agency Beliefs and Emotional Arousal Processes Regulating Behavior Through the Integration of Cognition and Affect Integration of Historical and Contemporary Theories of Motivation Goals, Emotions, and Personal Agency Beliefs How to 'Motivate' People General Principles and Specific Applications to Enduring Problems in Child and Adolescent Development, Education, Business, and Counseling and Everyday Living Summary of Motivational Systems Theory