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Hey, Teacher, Leave those Kids Alone!
I sometimes wonder if learning to teach children is like the old Pink Floyd song, the Wall. As I write yet another paper on "let them learn the information on their own" I can't help wonder, "Why?"
According to http://thirteen.org:
Unfortunately, our traditional educational system has worked in a way that discourages the natural process of inquiry. Students become less prone to ask questions as they move through the grade levels. In traditional schools, students learn not to ask too many questions, instead to listen and repeat the expected answers.
Gosh that sounds so good. Who would argue with that? Well, here is where the argument comes from:
Educators must understand that schools need to go beyond data and information accumulation and move toward the generation of useful and applicable knowledge . . . a process supported by inquiry learning. In the past, our country's success depended on our supply of natural resources. Today, it depends upon a workforce that "works smarter."
Sort of hard to ask intelligent questions when you don't even know what century the civil war occurred in. Or that you absolutely must use a calculator to multiply simple digits because the school system didn't think basic math facts needed to be memorized. How about knowing how to apply discounts at a store without a calculator at hand? Even worse, how to critique all those "research indicates" claims without an understanding of the method of scientific inquiry.
Inquiry is not so much seeking the right answer -- because often there is none -- but rather seeking appropriate resolutions to questions and issues.
You see because there are no right answers. And with the internet we can just spend all the time in the world to look up facts and apply them correctly. Makes sense, doesn't it?
No. You need to have a basis of knowledge from which to make a hypothesis and thus draw a conclusion. Otherwise, you're just an ignorant person without all the facts to which you can even begin to research the truth. Why do you think 30% of the population still support Bush? Egads, they're not staunch supporters, they are just plain ignorant of those pesky facts!