This book is a comprehensive overview of the importance of progressive education in the lives of children. These passages and quotes highlight the problem of putting achievement ahead of learning.
“Our kids may hate school, but we accept it as a fact of life. Instead of demanding that our children get better than we got, it’s as though our position was:” Listen if it was bad enough for me, it’s bad enough for my kids.
What is the cost of putting ”How well am I doing?” ahead of “What am I learning?
For students, putting “Achievement” ahead of “Learning”:
1 Undermines their interest
2 Makes failure seem overwhelming
3 Leads students to avoid challenging themselves
4 Reduces the quality of learning and
5 Invites students to think about how smart they are instead of how hard they tried.
When students are required to constantly think about their performance(grades) the first casualty is their attitude toward learning. For students to become engaged they have to experience the broad contours of the lesson as relevant. The teacher starts where they are and invites them to move further. He presents new ideas, surprising facts, unfamiliar voices, in such a way that their interest swells beyond where it used to be and they want to know more. This takes real skill.
A common characteristic of the very best classroom-kids are taken seriously. Educators who do the most for children are those who honor, and work hard to find out, what children already know. They start where the student is and work from there. They try to figure out what the students need and where their interests lie. Superb teachers strive constantly to imagine how things look from the child’s point of view, what lies behind his questions and mistakes.”
“It takes a lot more skill to help children think for themselves that it does just to give them information.”
“If the point is to succeed rather than to stretch one’s thinking, it is logical for a student to want to do whatever is easiest. That will maximize the probability for success and minimize the probability of failure. Once students start thinking this way it’s hard to stop. Even when they are not being evaluated. They have gotten into the habit of picking easy things to do so they’ll appear smart. If they internalized the imperative to get good grades they’ll still be looking for the easy courses in college.”