Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sensible Stuff.... the Times:

"In the QI edition of The Idler, Lloyd and Mitchinson present a five-point manifesto for educational reform.

One: play not work

Schools should be resource centres, not prisons. Teachers should be returned to their original roles as facilitators, not bureaucrats or drillmasters. The more “work” resembles play – telling stories, making things – the more interested kids will become.

Two: follow the chain of curiosity

Ask a kid what he wants to learn, and he’s unlikely to say: “a broad-based curriculum that offers the core skills”. Real learning is obsessive. It happens through watching, listening and practising something that really interests you. Encourage children to follow their own curiosity right to the end of the chain, and they will acquire the skills they need to get there.

Three: you decide

The QI School isn’t compulsory and there are no exams: only projects or goals you set yourself with the teacher acting as a mentor. This could be making a film or building a chair. From age seven onwards, our core subjects might be: philosophy, storytelling, music, technology, nature and games.

Four: no theory without practice

If you’re lost in wonder looking at, say, a lettuce, you will want to have a go at growing it, too.

Five: you never leave

There is no reason why school has to stop dead at 17 or 18. The QI school would be the ultimate “lifelong learning” venue – a mini-university where skills and knowledge would be pooled and young and old could indulge their curiosity."


ruth said...

Got my HE comment in :-)

Anonymous said...

I like the bit about following the chain of curiosity. Unlike following a curriculum, you don't know where a chain of curiosity will lead you. Also unlike a curriculum what you learn will be real and connected with your other ideas and with your life generally, capable of affecting both deeply.

One quibble. Children don't need any encouragement to follow this chain, as the article suggests. It's adults that need encouraging not to prevent them from doing so, and instead to help when asked. To begin with, it's not necessary to ask what they want to learn, but, for example, to answer questions. The start of the chain is usually implicit in what an individual is doing with his or her freedom right now.

-- Tom

Carlotta said...

Couldn't agree more.

Anonymous said...

He's just copying what home educators have been saying for a good while now (he even uses the word facilitator) and he doesn't really get it. Why does he still thinks a curriculum is needed such as:

"From age seven onwards, our core subjects might be: philosophy, storytelling, music, technology, nature and games."

Isn't this falling in the ageist trap of trying to guess what children as a group might like to learn?