Thursday, July 3, 2008

Order Isn't Education

Brain finds himself in an uncomfortable situation:

The most memorable moment of the evening for me was when Mr Maths also made a speech. “Smart Girl, why are you wandering around? Sit down in your place. If everyone wandered around, there would be Anarchy instead of Order.” It was like in a movie, where the script writer has completely abandoned realism in order to explain the Underlying Point Being Made In This Scene, except that Mr Maths really said that. I’m afraid I was not much help to him, probably because I am an anarchist. But eventually I was able to contribute to the imposition of Order with the necessary mixture of prison guarding and maths tuition. So I guess that means I’m not an Anarchist any more.

Having been around children for a bit lately, I'm worried that they are primarily learning order and not whatever it is folks are allegedly trying to teach them. See, Smart Girl, as Brian calls her, may sit down, especially if Mr. Maths escalates into a physical confrontation and forces her to, but she is highly unlikely to learn any math, which was sort of the point of order in this particular case.

The far scarier (for the adult) but more satisfying (for the child and his education) is to listen to the child. Children want to know things, and if you are explaining things that they want to know, a natural order will arise. Unfortunately, no one is used to this anymore, so there isn't as much order as there might be when we try it. Children, like any oppressed people, would have to go through a chaotic period in which they reevalute their relationship with education.

No comments: