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Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter O. Gray
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Free to Learn Quotes Showing 1-17 of 17
“Everyone who has ever been to school knows that school is prison, but almost nobody beyond school age says it is. It's not polite. We all tiptoe around the truth because admitting it would make us seem cruel and would point a finger at well-intentioned people doing what they believe to be essential. . . . A prison, according to the common, general definition, is any place of involuntary confinement and restriction of liberty. In school, as in adult prisons, the inmates are told exactly what they must do and are punished for failure to comply. Actually, students in school must spend more time doing exactly what they are told than is true of adults in penal institutions. Another difference, of course, is that we put adults in prison because they have committed a crime, while we put children in school because of their age.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“The biggest, most enduring lesson of school is that learning is work, to be avoided when possible.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“We have forgotten that children are designed by nature to learn through self-directed play and exploration, and so, more and more, we deprive them of freedom to learn, subjecting them instead to the tedious and painfully slow learning methods devised by those who run the schools.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“The belief that young people are incapable of making reasonable decisions is a cornerstone of our system of compulsory, closely monitored education.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Sadly, in many cases, the assumption that children are incompetent, irresponsible, and in need of constant direction and supervision becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The children themselves become convinced of their incompetence and irresponsibility, and may act accordingly. The surest way to foster any trait in a person is to treat that person as if he or she already has it.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Some people fear that violent play creates violent adults, but in reality the opposite is true. Violence in the adult world leads children, quite properly, to play at violence. How else can they prepare themselves emotionally, intellectually, and physically for reality? It is wrong to think that somehow we can reform the world for the future by controlling children’s play and controlling what they learn. If we want to reform the world, we have to reform the world; children will follow suit. The children must, and will, prepare themselves for the real world to which they must adapt to survive.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“If freedom, personal responsibility, self-initiative, honesty, integrity, and concern for others rank high in your system of values, and if they represent characteristics you would like to see in your children, then you will want to be a trustful parent. None of these can be taught by lecturing, coercion, or coaxing. They are acquired or lost through daily life experiences that reinforce or suppress them. You can help your children build these values by living them yourself and applying them in your relationship with your children. Trust promotes trustworthiness. Self-initiative and all of the traits that depend on self-initiative can develop only under conditions of freedom.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Self-education through play and exploration requires enormous amounts of unscheduled time—time to do whatever one wants to do, without pressure, judgment, or intrusion from authority figures. That time is needed to make friends, play with ideas and materials, experience and overcome boredom, learn from one’s own mistakes, and develop passions.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“It is nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail. It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Once compulsory systems of state-run schools were established, they became increasingly standardized, both in content and in method. For the sake of efficiency, children were divided into separate classrooms by age and passed along, from grade to grade, like products on an assembly line. The task of each teacher was to add bits of officially approved knowledge to the product, in accordance with a preplanned schedule, and then to test that product before passing it on to the next station.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Perhaps kids today play on the computer as much as they do partly because that is one place where they can play freely, without adult intervention and direction.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“the kids who can’t adapt to school’s tedium are diagnosed with ADHD and are put on powerful psychoactive drugs, which have the immediate effect of reducing their spontaneity so they can attend to the teacher and complete the senseless busywork. Nobody knows the long-term effects of these drugs on the human brain, but research with animals suggests that one effect may be to interfere with the normal development of the brain connections that lead children generally to become more controlled, less impulsive, with age and maturity.13 Perhaps that helps to explain why today we see more and more cases of ADHD extending into adulthood. As with lots of psychoactive drugs, the drugs used to treat ADHD may be creating long-term dependency.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Repetition and memorization of imposed lessons are indeed tedious work for children, whose instincts urge them constantly to play and think freely, raise their own questions, and explore the world in their own ways. Children did not adapt well to forced schooling, and in many cases they rebelled. This was no surprise to the adults. By this point in history, the idea that children’s own preferences had any value had been pretty well forgotten. Brute force, long used to keep children on task in fields and factories, was transported into the classroom to make children learn. Some of the underpaid, ill-prepared schoolmasters were quite sadistic. One master in Germany kept records of the punishments he meted out in fifty-one years of teaching, a partial list of which included: “911,527 blows with a rod, 124,010 blows with a cane, 20,989 taps with a ruler, 136,715 blows with the hand, 10,235 blows to the mouth, 7,905 boxes on the ear, and 1,118,800 blows on the head.”25 Clearly he was proud of all the educating he had done.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Trustful parents enjoy their kids; they don’t think of them as their “project.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Agriculture brought to human beings more than a new way of procuring food. It introduced a new way of thinking about the relationship between humans an nature. Hunter-gatherers considered themselves to be part of the natural world; they lived with nature, not against it. They accepted nature`s twist and turns as inevitable and adapted to them as best they could. Agriculture, on the other hand, is a continuous exercise in controlling nature; it involves the taming and controlling of plants and animals, to make them servants to humans rather than equal partners in the natural world. With agriculture, I suggest, humans began to extend this idea of control over nature to other aspects of the natural world, including children.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“The primary educational concern of leaders in government and industry was not to make people literate, but to gain control over what people read, what they thought, and how they behaved.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life
“Adult direction leads to the assumption that rules are determined by an outside authority and thus not to be questioned. When children play just among themselves, however, they come to realize that rules are merely conventions, established to make the game more fun and more fair, and can be changed to meet changing conditions. For life in a democracy, few lessons are more valuable.”
Peter O. Gray, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life