Tuesday, July 12, 2011


"Is your child pampered in a way?"

I was asked this question by a colleague when I posted in FB that my firstborn is studying in a progressive elementary school.

Do I feel like my child is pampered? Definitely. And in many ways.

If it means that my child finds so much happiness in school that she looks forward to going to class everyday, then yes, my child is pampered.

If it means that my child is always eager to learn something new, then yes, my child is pampered.

If it means that my child is excited to do her homework (which doesn't feel like work) on her own even on a Friday night, then yes, my child is pampered.

If it means that my child asks, nay, begs to be given challenging problems in Math and Science, then yes, my child is pampered.

"Why are our schools not places of joy?" This was the question posed by John Godlad twenty five years ago. Alfie Kohn calls it the Listerine Theory of Education. "If it tasted vile, it obviously had to work well." Never mind about child stress. Never mind that young children barely have time to play.

Somewhere along the way, our educators equated more assignments, more advanced topics, more subjects with better quality of education. In the process, learning became a chore, a bitter pill to swallow.

I know how it's like to dread going to school. I know how it feels like to spend hours studying something not because I really like it but because I have to. I've been through that--when I was in law school.

My daughters can wait until law school to feel that. But for now, I want them to find joy in learning.

Source: Alfie Kohn, Feel-Bad Education

*If you want to read the free and abbreviated version of Alfie Kohn's Feel-Bad Education, please check this. But if you want to read more, then you may want to check the book itself.



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