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How Children Learn  

2009-02-26 20:30:00|  分类: 外语 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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     Rather than give an overarching theory of how children  learn, John Holt, the father of the modern home school  movement, uses anecdotal observations that question  assumptions about how children acquire knowledge and  learning skills.

     Holt rejects the idea that children are "monsters of  evil" who must be beaten into submission or computers  whom "we can program into geniuses."  Neither are they  the passive receptacles of knowledge that can only learn  in a schoolroom.  Instead, he calls upon parents and  educators to "trust children."  

     First and foremost, Holt believes that children are born  learners and that there is a curiosity in all children  that begins at birth, not when they are put in school.  

     His observations of young children reveal that their  brains are trying to make sense of the world.

     Children want to solve problems; they like to think.  The problem is that parents and educators get in the way of  this natural process by placing children in large,  impersonal schools, and by teaching a meaningless  curriculum in an industrial factory setting.

     Holt rejects knowledge that is entirely taught in an  abstract manner.  He uses the example of teaching  fractions as an anesthetic experience with little real  world application.  Similarly, he is disgusted by  children涔玸 primers and picture books with their 涔琩umb涔? and simple vocabularies.  Rather, Holt believes in  exposing children to real world problems of increasing  complexity.  For example, he encourages parents to expose their children to newspapers, letters, warranties, the  yellow pages - anything tangible and visceral to promote  their curiosity about the world.

     Staying with the theme of promoting real problems for  children, Holt is nostalgic for a time when children  observed their parents at work, indeed, when parents and  children worked side by side.  He believes childhood  observation of parental work would accelerate learning on the part of their children, rather than just having  information disseminated from the classroom. This is one  reason why Holt is so receptive to home-schooling or as  he calls it. "unschooling."

     Holt is full of ire against teachers and educational  institutions, whom he believes actually serve as a  hindrance to acquiring knowledge and learning skills. If  the aim of education is to create independent thinkers,  then educators must learn to refrain from 涔瑄nasked  teaching,涔? which he argues only frustrates children into believing that they are not smart enough to learn.  This destructive process to Holt shatters their self esteem  and extinguishes their confidence in their ability to  learn for themselves and, at worst, turn them away from  learning forever. 

     Teachers, rather, should be more passive, be willing to  take a step back, and give direction only when students  need - and ask for, help.  Teachers make the mistake of  believing that they are essential to the learning process and that students can not work without them. 

     Holt maintains that the best results can be gained when a student is given time to figure things out and to develop  hunches that become more and more sophisticated with  experience. For Holt, there are no stupid mistakes as  children develop their cognitive skills.

     The concept of self esteem is the second fundamental  belief that Holt espouses. Self confidence is the key to a child涔玸 learning. Overbearing teachers and parents,  coercive educational institutions, the rote drudgery of  learning and endless testing - all serve to create a  sense of anxiety, of crushing curiosity, of making learning a painful rather than a natural and pleasurable act. Over time students come to believe that they are failures. Indeed, Holt asserts that stammering and stuttering are the consequences for some children of destroyed self esteem.

     Fear of failure, punishment and disgrace, along with the  anxiety of constant testing, severely reduces students涔?  ability to perceive and remember, and, thus, drive them  away from learning.  Holt, with his trust children  philosophy, believes, perhaps naively, that they have a  strong sense of what is right and have an innate self  correcting mechanism that will help them to (eventually)  solve a problem.  Most instruction, especially reading, 

     Holt argues, is self taught anyway, so why the need for  overbearing teachers and parents?   Holt believes that  learning can be pleasurable and that learning in the form of games can be the first step in having children embrace  a lifetime of learning.

How Children Learn - 探索者365 - explorer365的博客
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