Questioning the assumption that "children must be taught how to think, not what to think"
I saw a meme today on Facebook with a quote by Margaret Mead, "Children must be taught how to think; not what to think."
I guess that sentiment is a good starting point for most people. Not for me though, I get sad when I read it because it says that children MUST - a position which asserts one's will and judgement over others - be TAUGHT - assuming that learning only occurs when one imparts knowledge and skills to others - HOW TO THINK - assuming that unless one knows how to think one isn't able to think, which is simply ridiculous as we're all born thinking, so doesn't that automatically mean we know how to?
And anyone assuming they can teach someone else WHAT TO THINK needs to rethink that assumption: marketing people know that the best way to make others think the way they want them too is not by teaching but by emotional manipulation and brainwashing. Like I said, it's a good starting place and I'm a long way down the track, been thinking about children thinking and learning for a long time now. Just wish more people would question well-meaning sentiments such as this and hopefully see how they help to keep the status-quo.
I still know people though that are surprised by the notion that children can already think, and quite well, as babies... As well as people who are still really fixated on what and when to teach, rather than helping children get on with learning.
I think that there is a role for others to guide and mentor others and if asked, even teach.
Children trust that we as parents will meet their needs. Trouble is, we have so much trouble recognising and identifying our own needs - life has become over-complex and over-thought. And I honestly think we confuse needs and wants. We need love and acceptance, acceptance for who we are, right here, right now, as we are. That's the starting place for any kind of guidance, mentoring, teaching.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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