Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Game of School by Robert L. Fried

I am reading this book during the Spring Vacation week - and am going to reflect daily in my blog.

I have always thought of myself as a perpetual student - a career which I feel very successful. With the onset of more collaborative and reflective tools, I find myself realizing that much of what I have been engaged in was really just a game. Make the grade, receive the accolades, finish the work - but real learning and personal expansion was rare. Recently (the last 5 years or so), I believe I have moved away from the game and into real lifelong learning. I hope that this book will help me to put others on this same path.

Chapter 1 - Wasting Time
If you had to estimate the amount of time our children spend wasting during a school day - what percentage would you decide? Do they head off to school eager to start a new day? If asked, do they respond that much of school is boring? If people do not view activities as important and as having direct meaning to the "right now", they will not truly learn. Learning should be authentic - examples are giving in this book. And school should be about learning not about obeying.

I found the following scenario powerful: When asked "What are the most important things you learn in school?", most respond with behaviors:

  • no pushing
  • no fighting
  • don't throw stuff on the ground
  • be good

These are important, but are they the MOST important? What about reading, writing, mathematics? Most students feel that they are simply in school to "do what they are told". Where is the zest for learning?

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