Learning Is Not A Mechanical Process
A great post on Edutopia:
“For decades, James Comer has been a forceful advocate for the rights of children, particularly African-American and Latino children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Foremost among those rights are what some have called, “developmental rights.” These are the rights for all children to benefit from what we know and to have the resources and opportunities to grow up in a positive and productive way.
But children living in high-risk environments are much less likely to get these resources and have these rights. Comer has spent many years articulating the developmental pathways all students must follow, and he has organized school services and resources to deliver those pathways to all students.”
Here’s an excerpt from an interview with Comer:
Interviewer: Does your experience suggest that other school may need to rethink these matters?
Comer: I think that many social systems serving children—recreational, even religious, institutions—must reexamine what they’re trying to accomplish in the light of what we know about how children learn. School, for example, is not only about academic achievement; we are preparing young people so that they can hold jobs, live in families, serve as heads of households, find satisfaction and meaning in life, and be responsible citizens. You don’t get all of that by focusing on academic content . . . Most of the so-called reformers don’t understand how people learn. They think of learning as a mechanical process; they don’t seem to understand how much it depends on imitation, on identification with authority figures, and values through relating emotionally to others. They do not give enough attention to the kind of climate that must be created to make that possible.” Read more here.
This interview dates from 1986. It seems to be taking us (administrators, teachers, parents, society) a long time to learn this important lesson.