Sunday, May 31, 2009

Quotes from Frank Smith and John Taylor Gatto

John Taylor Gatto is the author of 'A Different Kind Of Teacher'. Frank Smith's book is called 'an Insult To Intelligence'

From Frank Smith:
'The time bomb in every classroom is that students learn exactly what they are taught.'

From John Gatto:

' School teachers aren't allowed to do what they think best for each child. Harnessed to a collective regime, they give up thinking seriously about students as one-of - a -kind individuals regardless of what they may wish were true.'

And Gatto of standardized testing says:

' What standardized testing actually measure is the tractability of the student, and this they do quite accurately.Is it of value to know who is docile and who is not? You tell me.'

Smith says:

' I discovered the brutally simple motivation behind the development and imposition of all systematic programmes and tests - a lack of trust that teachers can teach and children can't learn'.

Gatto writing about 'Kafka type' rituals of high schools that;

'Enforce sensory deprivation on classes of children held in featureless rooms...sort children into rigid categories by the use of fantastic measures such as age grading, or standardized test scores...train children to drop what they are occupied with and move as a body from room to room at the sound of a bell, buzzer horn or claxton...keep children under constant surveillance, depriving them of private time and space...Forbid children their own discoveries, pretending to possess some vital secret to which children must surrender their active learning time to acquire... ideas are broken into fragments called subjects, subjects into units, units into sequences, lessons into homework, and all these prefabricated pieces make a classroom teacher proof.'

Frank Smith continues:

'The myth is that learning can be guaranteed if instruction is delivered systematically one small piece at a time, with frequent tests to ensure that students and teachers stay on task'.

Back to Gatto:

'A substantial amount of testimony exists from highly regarded scientists that scientific discovery is negatively related to the procedures of school science classes.

And Smith:

'Children learn what makes sense to them; they learn through the sense of things they want to understand.'

They are 'informavores who eat up knowledge'.

'We underestimate our brains and our intelligence.Formal education has become such a complicated, self conscious, and over regulated activity that learning is widely regarded as something difficult the brain would rather not do...We are all capable of huge unsuspected learning accomplished without effort.'

John Gatto:

' Each of us has a design problem to solve: to create from the raw material around us the curriculum for a good life. It isn't easy, and it isn't the same for ant two people.'

'The priorities of our curriculum are daydreaming, natural and social sciences, self discipline, respect of self and others, and making mistakes.'

And after asking students Frank writes they want:

' Above all, more work which allowed themselves to think for themselves, to experiment, to engage in first hand observation.'

'Learning' Smith writes, 'is never divorced from feelings.'

The learners manifesto Smith writes is:

'The brain is always learning.
Learning does not require coercion.
Learning must be meaningful. Learning is individual.
Learning is collaborative.
The consequences of worthwhile learning is obvious.
Learning involves feeling.
Learning must be free of risk.'

'We need to shift the focus of learning from simply teaching them the process by which educated people pursue the right answers'

And a final thought from George Bernard Shaw:

'What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge,and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.'


Tom said...

Oh wow ! They get it big time. Schools, teachers and bureacracy has a lot to answer for.

What would they say about Anne's Standards?

Here is the answer - 'The myth is that learning can be guaranteed if instruction is delivered systematically one small piece at a time, with frequent tests to ensure that students and teachers stay on task'.

Bruce Hammonds said...

It not hard to find quotes/books/philosophers that point out the errors of current education - it is just hard for schools to change their ways!

I'll put up a few more before going away for a few days!!

Read my artice in the latest 'Principlas Today' to see my views on Tolley's standards.