3.19.2012

School is prison

School is prison?/moriza
Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College, authors the Psychology Today blog, Freedom to Learn.

Forced Education

In recent posts, Mr. Gray ruffled some feathers with the statement, "School is prison," in reference to the system of compulsory education.
"Sometimes I find, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me and others feel, I have to speak the truth. We can use all the euphemisms we want, but the literal truth is that schools, as they generally exist in the United States and other modern countries, are prisons."
Mr. Gray gave the common definition of prison as "any place of involuntary confinement and restriction of liberty." He argues that schools do not merely feel like prisons, but rather are prisons.

Freedom to Learn

Unschoolers, in general, probably offer little argument with the declaration that school is prison or that forced education causes anxiety and inhibits learning. Peter Gray followed up his declaration with a list of "Seven Sins of Our System of Forced Education." These pitfalls of conventional education offer a perspective from which to imagine a way out.

Of all the alternatives to conventional schooling, unschooling (aka life learning), with its fundamental philosophy of noncoercion, offers true freedom to learn.

Peter Gray's blog, Freedom to Learn, explores the roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning.

2 comments:

  1. I like this post. While I didn't hate school, it definitely was a full-time exhausting job. I am hoping to do much better with my own kids. From reading this, I feel almost embarrassed that my kids do between 15-60 minutes per day on an online curriculum, but it is still dramatically less restrictive than 6 hours a day in conventional school with homework and a commute on top of it all. I am just afraid to miss something. The rest of the time we are either hands-on or out and about in our city or on field trips.

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  2. I didn't like being at school, but I liked school work. Online school would have been heavenly to me.

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