Friday, 8 October 2010

John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down and Enforced Schooling

I read Dumbing Us Down for the first time this week (Flu and Chest Infection made this possible) and was shocked by how much the ideas within spoke to me.

Gatto's concern is that through forcing children to go to school, to shuffle around to the sound of a bell, to follow instructions, to accept our judgements of them, we are disabling them. We are making students dependent.

Gatto's solutions are radical: claiming that the systems as they are cannot be fixed and need to be destroyed to stop this. I don't know what I think of this being a teacher myself. It's scary.

What I do know however is that every time I reach over to snatch the pen out of a student's hand to complete a task for them, or go to finish their sentence, or presume to second-guess them or begin to interrupt them I will think about the possible effects that is having.

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