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The Child Manufacturing Process

Essential ‘change education’ reads’ by Christopher Chase

(intro by Floris) Edushifts just brought a book on the market, with all kinds of stories of people trying to make a difference in education. Many call the dominant system bad, broken, damaging for students and society as a whole. In this publication we gather and share such stories. Mostly written by one of our members. But we should not forget, many have been struggling with the same issue, starting already even deep in the 20th century. Here’s a fb post by writer and teacher Christopher Chase, summing up the essence of the trouble, with links and references to essential thinkers like Jon Taylor Gatto, sir Ken Robinson and others.

~The Child Manufacturing Process~

by Christopher Chase

Were modern schools set up with a hidden agenda, as a way of perpetuating class systems, suppressing innovation, fostering a “consumer” mentality and controlling how children learn to think?

In most schools around the world children are taught to obey authority, work hard, complete tasks on time and provide the “right” answers to questions. They become “consumers” of knowledge who learn to think as instructed and do as they are told.

Factory model schooling creates dependency and powerlessness, by neglecting human individuality, democracy, freedom, spirituality, creativity and community. Little emphasis is given to real-life problem solving, collaborative decision-making, individual interests, intrinsic motivation or innovative thinking.

With a focus on grades and test scores the system perpetuates social classes, with clear winners and losers. Those who comply with authority become good workers, rewarded with higher paying jobs and status once they “graduate” from the system. Those who live in poor communities, reject education’s institutions or question authority can become society’s outsiders and underclass.

Over the past hundred years the situation has not improved much. In many nations now there is an obsession with test scores, university rankings and career status, along with a neglect of the arts, creativity, community, self-directed learning, spirituality, compassion and wisdom.

Just as factories manufacture and process junk food, where essential nutrients and healthy ingredients are tossed aside, much the same has been happening with factory model school systems.

Millions of professional educators around the world know better, and for decades have fought against this. Knowing what we do about motivation, multiple intelligences, creativity, developmental psychology and how the brain learns many teachers have tried to shift education’s paradigm.

Unfortunately, the world’s governments and corporations appear to have a different agenda. Innovative self-directed learners (who think outside the box) don’t make very good consumers, factory workers, voters or soldiers.

Those in power want compliance, ignorance, obedience, dependency and competition (benefiting multinational corporations)- not innovation, wisdom, democracy, independence and creative collaboration (benefiting local communities).

Einstein warned about this, as did Maria Montessori, John Dewey, Buckminister Fuller, John Taylor Gatto and many others. Schools don’t need to be this way, but until students and parents stand up and speak out, loudly rejecting this kind of education, its not likely to change.

~Christopher Chase
The Art of Learning

Related, from John Taylor Gatto:

“From the beginning, there was purpose behind forced schooling, purpose which had nothing to do with what parents, kids, or communities wanted. Instead, it was forged out of what a highly centralized corporate economy and system of finance bent on internationalizing itself was thought to need; that, and what a strong, centralized political State needed, too.

At first, the primary target was the tradition of independent livelihoods in America. Unless Yankee entrepreneurialism could be put to death, at least among the common population, the immense capital investments that mass production industry required for equipment weren’t conceivably justifiable.

Students were to learn to think of themselves as employees competing for the favor of management. Not as Franklin or Edison had once regarded themselves, as self-determined, free agents.

Only by a massive psychological campaign could the menace of overproduction in America be contained. That’s what important men and academics called it. The ability of Americans to think as independent producers had to be curtailed.”

Source: Extending Childhood (The Underground History of US Education)

Learners Centered Approach

So I sketched out a 4 part model to explain what many of these Learner-centered Paradigm approaches have in common, need to make a better drawing and upload.

Its a pyramid, at the center is the Child’s INNER LIFE — subjective emotional world, with a goal of developing compassion, empathy, curiosity, balance and psychological strength. (Love of life and learning, spirituality, joy, happiness, mindfulness, concentration and flow).

Then the three corners are participation in COMMUNITY (local, global human community and further to recognize ourselves as part of the Community of Life, consideration of eco-governance as Shelley Ostroff has written about, and eco-literacy as Daniel Christian Wahl and Anneloes Smitsman have described). With Indigenous cultures and pre-industrial societies community is key, as are the other 3 factors here.

Next WISDOM & KNOWLEDGE which would mean Systems Thinking, integrating the sciences, awareness of how social, cultural, political, economic, technological, psychological, biological and ecological systems in the Universe work and are interdependently related. Knowledge alone is not enough, with schools and creative media we can help children understand how all knowledge integrates into one coherent whole (this also relates to Anneloes, Daniel, Shelley, Alexander, Nora, Derek, Anne-Marie, Floris and other’s writing here).

Finally, to focus on CREATIVITY & MASTERY, looking upon skill development as an art, where skills and knowledge need to be integrated and applied (as Bloom has described). Cooking, painting, sports, gardening, problem-solving, community building, music, writing, film making, poetry, research, conflict resolution, maintaining a healthy body, dance, drama, etc.

Everything meaningful can be studied in a holistic way as an art (as education has developed traditionally in Asia up until factory schools were introduced), with progressive levels of mastery and creativity, where “assessments” of skill levels and learning are done in way’s that motivate learners to move to higher levels (beginner through advanced), rather than ranking and dividing them into status groups of smart and stupid.

Key here is not teaching information just for tests or to memorize but to integrate with apprenticeship and community opportunities for skill development, collaboration and creative implementation, experimentation.

In my view the best education approaches down through history and across cultures incorporate (and have respect for) all of these, which combine synergistically. Factory model education does not.

See also:

The Real Agenda of “So-Called” Education Reform…/the-real-a…/

Educational Malpractice: The Child Manufacturing Process…/educationa…/

The Circle of Courage — Native American Model of Education…/the-circle…/

Standardising Education: Common Core’s Hidden Agenda…/standardiz…/

Paradigms are Made for Shifting…/paradigms-…/

The Perpetual Curse of Feudalism, Reinvented…/the-perpet…/

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That’s Transforming Education (Ken Robinson)…/

Understanding How Our Brains Learn…/understand…/

Ken Robinson: Government “Standardization” Blocks Innovative Education Reform…/ken-robins…/

Find more of such links and posts on Christopher Chase his blog:

No Child is the same. Then if we all are so different, why judged on the same standard?

(to which I, floris, like to add te following articles & video’s:)

Noam Chomsky, also explaining current education is primarily a tool for indoctrination of the young: (7 min video) long, very intelligent article, why expecting children to all be at the same level at the same time is damaging for them, kills talents and is basically unrealistic, with lessons to be learned from indigenous peoples.

A well done article on how to unleash genius in schoolkids.

The world famous: ‘What if money was not an onbject?’ video with spoken words by Alan Watts, helping students to focus on their own desires, not those that school promotes.

“In will not let an exam decide my fate.” Awesome spoken word by Suli Breaks for all students to consider.

My own essential take on how to rethink education:

My collection of posts to help Change Education on Pinterest.



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Floris Koot

Play Engineer. Social Inventor. Gentle Revolutionary. I always seek new possibilities and increase of love, wisdom and play in the world.