Fab Fridays 6: The Traditional Education System

Alternative Education Paths

Hi all!

Greetings from New York City! 

Something really interesting happened last week: one of my tweets went viral with over 16.5K likes, 3K retweets, 700+ comments, and a tsunami of information worth digesting. I was amazed with the responses and resources other Twitter users shared and highly recommend scrolling through the thread. As promised, I put together a curated selection of the best of what others shared:

History of our current education system

The traditional school system that we have today is not a product of science and logic, but rather a product of history. I gathered from the thread the following resources on the history of our current education system:

Alternative education paths

Children spend ever greater portions of their day under adult direction, sitting at desks, listening to and reading about things that don’t interest them, and answering questions that are not their own and are not, to them, real questions. We leave them ever less time and freedom to play, explore, and pursue their own interests.” —Peter Gray

The amount of time kids spend in school is alarming, but what’s even more concerning is HOW that time is spent. Imagine what would happen if, instead of sending kids to traditional school for 7 hours a day/5 days a week, we reduced the amount of direct instruction and provided them with the resources and flexible environment that would allow their curiosity, playfulness, and other natural ways of learning to flourish. Here are some of the alternative paths some commenters are exploring:

  • Homeschooling (check out the tweet thread if you are interested in learning more about homeschooling options—great resources were shared by homeschool parents!)

Other interesting ideas

We are following an outdated system that does the opposite from what we know about how and why children learn. Our education system needs a facelift. I don’t think we will get rid of schools anytime soon, but we can certainly explore alternatives to make teaching and learning fun, relevant, and meaningful for children. Here are some interesting projects that others shared in the tweet thread:

An open conversation with children

Regardless of your view on schooling, I think we can agree that children are not learning as much or as well as they should. More concerning is their lack of enthusiasm when it comes to learning. I’m convinced this is because we have pushed children into an abnormal environment that has changed very little in the past 200 years. In search for a different direction, I’m crafting a unique synchronous learning experience to assist children in their self-education journey. I plan to start by using creative writing as a vehicle to get kids excited about learning, but that’s just a means to an end. I will be sharing more about how this is unfolding soon.

This week I met with a lovely group of former students (ages 10-12) to talk about their school experience, the things they enjoy doing during their free time, and how they like to learn about the things that excite them. We had a wonderful conversation and I will be sharing some insights in next week’s newsletter.

Until next week!

Ms. Fab