Teaching Should be a Crime

“Scandal of education; every time you teach something you deprive a child the pleasure and benefit of discovery.” ~Seymour Papert

I had no idea who Seymour Papert was before seeing the afore mentioned quote, but the quote made me curious enough to explore deeper and find more. What I found is that “people laughed at Seymour Papert in the sixties when he talked about children using computers as instruments for learning and for enhancing creativity” (http://www.papert.org/). Which made me also wonder, were people laughing at him because of his foresight of the use of technology in education, or his philosophy that children can and should be encouraged to be curious?

My point here is that a single quote piqued my curiosity enough to begin learning and exploring on my own. Because of that curiosity the information I found will be retained longer and in fact, I am finding additional ways to apply this new knowledge (i.e. this blog). Why do we presume that our students wouldn’t do the same? Why do we feel the need to provide facts, figures, and opinions to students that reflect our own values and beliefs instead of letting them explore on their own and synthesize their own knowledge, and form their own opinions?  My experience has been that kids are more curious creatures than most adults and with emerging technology have become the most social generation in history. However, traditional ways of teaching stifle their creativity and send the message “because I say so”. It is a scandal that we continue to “teach” instead of promoting inquiry.  In fact, it should be a crime!  If we want students to be productive members of society that think for themselves, “teaching” can no longer be an option.  Give students the environment and tools they need to inquire, rather than “teach” and then we will begin to develop the life long learners that teachers have always dreamed of!

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