The Game of School by Robert Fried
Some thoughts and quotes from Chapters 2 - 5
Chapter 2 -
As the child proceeds through school, he may learn many useful and interesting things. But he also learns to undervalue his own learning in favor of "doing the work," pleasing his teachers, getting good marks.. (page 24)
Chapter 3 - on spelling lists
For in forcing our "official" vocabulary lists on children and then testing them to see if they have memorized our words, we take their natural linguistic appetite and transform it thourgh acts of subservience and drudgery. (page 66)
Chapter 4 -
In this chapter, I found myself thinking deeply about the distinction between "learning for its own sake" and "working for the grade". Fried's seven categories of learners which have evolved from our game of school exemplify the distinction:
True-Blue Learners; Go-Getters; Cherry Pickers; Pluggers; Goof-Offs or Rebels; Socializers or Hang-Outers; and Give-Uppers (page 82)
Essays from students trying to place themselves in these categories are eye-opening.
Chapter 5 -
Reading this chapter made me wonder if we are preparing our new teachers to "create a mutually respectful learning partnership" in their classrooms or to "successfully manage the students" day to day. Although these methods overlap, it should be emphasized that management should not be the ultimate goal.
Much of this chapter is dedicated to Fried's outlines of different descriptions between the Game of School and Authentic Learning in the areas of: assessment, curriculum, discipline, instruction, motivation and family involvement.
The most powerful statement I found in this chapter is that 'there is no such thing as a young person who isn't learning'. It is what they are learning that is important.