Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth learning can be taught.
— Oscar Wilde
Sometimes it seems that education tips and theories are a dime a dozen. This is particularly so in the modern age, when parents are inundated with recommendations on the best schools and educational practices.
The challenging thing about the proliferation of information is that it becomes difficult to discern simple and straightforward truth. It is in such times that it’s easiest to cut through the noise by returning to revered and recognized sources of wisdom for advice and guidance.
Michel de Montaigne, one of the most significant philosophers says that “character should be the most important factor in choosing a teacher.”
One of the many essays Montaigne wrote focused on the education of the children and the following five tips from that essay are surprisingly still relevant in our modern age:
1. Character Should Be the Most Important Factor in Choosing a Teacher
Find him/her out a tutor, who has rather a well-made than a well-filled head seeking, indeed, both the one and the other, but rather of the two to prefer manners and judgment to mere learning.
2. Choose a Teacher Who Uses the Socratic Method
According to Montaigne, a good teacher avoids being the one doing all the talking. Instead, he draws a child out, using various tools to guide him toward discovering information on his own. Through the Socratic Method argumentative dialogue between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to draw out ideas and underlying presumptions is performed.
3. Avoid Cookie-Cutter Education
‘Learning is an organic process. Therefore, it will never be fully measurable.‘
Kids are individual human beings who learn differently. Some are visual learners, others prefer to read. Some need to touch things and move around more than others. Some are natural with numbers, others “feel” languages. Some need to watch others doing a new thing before deciding to try it for themselves. Others need to explain a new concept in order to better understand it themselves.
The grade system and standardized tests don’t care about that anything instead all they need is perfectly-sized cookies. They allow students to be different and curious as long as they fit the mold. Once they want to explore more — or less, for that matter — the cookie cutter will make sure to keep their perfect (?) shape.
It’s high time we should be leaving behind this cookie-cutter education.
4. Avoid Worksheets
Okay, so Montaigne didn’t single out worksheets for criticism, but the sentiment is the same. As he explains, a good teacher trains a student to think and expand upon what he has learned, instead of simply regurgitating information. Worksheets can be used only one way. Worksheets and coloring books are generally considered convergent materials. They lead children to think that there is only a single correct way to use them, and they require little, if any, higher-order thinking.
5. Education Should Involve Experiences as Well as Books Education needs practical experiences as well as bookish knowledge. In the educational process, students should be offered a wide variety of ways to learn, among which they could choose or with which they could experiment. They do not have to learn different things the same way.
You can use these tools as a hint of successfully educating your child. This will surely lead to a bright future ahead. Ask your child to stay focused for reaching greater heights. Relaxing is the best medicine for learning.