Monday, January 17, 2011

Great arguement for Unschooling: Ted Talk on Child-driven education

Life seems to be a constant balance to find new habits and new rhythms. Over Christmas our family got a NordicTrack. Now three times a week I'll place our laptop in from of the elliptical. I've been working through some videos I've saved for months, just waiting for a few "spare" minutes to watch them.

Today I watched a link my mother sent me to a TED talk by Sugata Mitra on The child-driven education. Sugata may be best know for his hole in a wall experiment. He place a computer in a wall in the slums of New Deli and found children would educate themselves. These were children who had little formal education but were able to work together in groups and soon surf the web.

Sugata made several interesting and thoughtful statements.

He started off with: "There are places on Earth, in every country, where, for various reasons, good schools cannot be built and good teachers cannot or do not want to go..." These are places like slums where it can be dangerous to teach. He also made the point that these are often the same where trouble comes from.

Another point came from the "hole in a wall" experiment. They literally put a computer in a wall, with high speed access to the internet. He found that children will learn to do what they want to learn to do.

He shared several other experiments where children were given access to computers and problems to work on, and then left alone. He found the children would learn. He felt that it was important to have children in groups, four seemed to be a good size group. They would work together. The process of interacting seems to reinforce what they learn.

When his research started to become public Science Fiction author Arthur C. Clark invited Sugata to come visit him. Dr. Clark made a great statement: "A teacher who can be replaced by a computer should be."

As he worked to improve on his approach he started using what he called "The technique of the grandmothers." Some older person would peer over the children's shoulders and say things like: "Good job." "What is that?" This provided motivation.

One of the lessons homeschoolers can learn from this is that children can learn a lot on their own, we don't need "experts" who are masters in a particular subject for children to learn.

This 17 minute video is interesting and worth watching:


Unknown said...

Very interesting blog. I'm going to bookmark it so I can find my way back easier to read when time permits I look forward to listening to this video later. Thanks for sharing.

Carletta said...

So true! I've been slowly gravitating toward giving my children more freedom, and I find that they are really learning a great deal that way.