Let the kids decide

The kids of one of my brothers attend a private school and this institution’s mantra is to put the kids in charge as to what they would like to learn and at what pace. There are no characters, no testing or any other rules of engagement that would put pressure on the kids. My brother’s eldest is in fourth grade and I learned today that he still cannot write properly.

One of Steve’s messages seems to be that the learner should decide what he/she wants to learn. I am not sure if that also extends beyond language learning but to me this ultra lenient approach is an utter failure. Kids don’t have the maturity to decide what are key skills for later stages in their lives.

I should add that this school’s approach is the same that my brother and his partner practice at home. They always try to win the child’s consent in almost every situation and decision they make and try to avoid to force anything onto their children. I believe this educational style is a disaster and is doing a great disservice to both the children and the parents.


Why do you think it’s a disaster? People, kids too, learn things much faster when they’re interested in it. A school should try to spark the interest of the children though, and do something about it when they lack very important skills. So that’s the only thing that school does wrong. Kids want to learn a lot usually, the school doesn’t need to force them to learn something. I learned how to read and write when I was 4, before school taught me. Because like most kids, I really wanted to learn.

I guess I have a more old fashioned view on this. When I was in elementary school we still had grades from day one. I think life is full of constraints and pressure and eleminating all kind of pressure in school just sets the kids up for a crude awakening later in life,


I had a teacher in third grade who decided to do this-but only with some of the students. She is/was a product of the 1960s and had big, political and educational ideas, I think.

Those of us (like Lisa) who already knew how to read well got our own little private area with a nice rug and a folding screen. The “average” students learned in a traditional way, and the students who were distracted (I guess) easily sat in Dilbert-like booths or cubicles. I couldn’t see them, you know. I was on the floor with my books, chatting away with one of the students (a brilliant student named “Bright”. I am not making this up.). Of course, I did not do my work. I had no discipline at all.

I think Bright did his work. He is probably working at NASA now, but he had discipline already because he went to Catholic school before he came to our school. In fact, he didn’t stay too long at our progressive school.

My biased verdict:
I think it’s fine if the student is mature (maybe like Lisa), but it’s terrible if the person lacks good study skills and discipline like me.

Next I’ll rant about whole language. No, I won’t.

I agree with Friedemann to the extent that there isn’t any discipline. I think that there should be more freedom in schools as far as what the child wants to pursue, eg if the child is science prone, then he/she should be picked out and put into more science related classes.

I also think that the child should have more say on the topic of study within the modality. For example the student shouldn’t be made to read a particular book, or the student shouldn’t be forced to study biology when he’s interested in most astronomy… The argument against that is that children should have “a full education” but to me that’s a load of BS, our species has been in the mode of specialization for 50,000 years. Intelligent people are interested in things that aren’t their specialties now.

In the end, the ultra lenient less discipline approach is wrong, but I think there’s definitely room for some more choice.

hello my name is Osvaldo end i have 1 son. Him 3 age. his name is Oscars, his a very beautiful kid.

Why do I always say stupid things :stuck_out_tongue: I wasn’t (and am) not that mature and to be honest I did get too much freedom in elementary school. It was good in some ways, for example I already read English books in 6th grade… But I can’t remember I did a lot of basic maths, and I’m still kind of bad at that… I mean I’m not that bad at maths actually and I got to do hard maths because they assumed I got bored with the easy stuff… and yes that was true but it didn’t mean I could do it well. Well, no harm for me, I get by just fine, but I can imagine the kind of freedom I got would be horrible for some kids in my class, but I did get a little more freedom than them ^^‘’