schoolyard subversion

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2000-11-19 [< * >]

John Taylor Gatto is an incredible teacher and writer. His new book, A Different Kind of Teacher: Solving the Crisis of American Schooling is out, and he's doing the interview circuit. He was recently written up in Fast Company. I thought I'd share some of the highlights:

I realized that this was the attitude in all subject areas. They expected so little of these kids that it was easy to communicate the whole curriculum for the month of June in 15 minutes.

[The principal said,] "Mr. Gatto, you have no idea how clever these low-achieving children are. They will memorize a story so that it looks as if they know how to read it."

[Kids] have such an indoctrinated belief that they can't do it, and that belief is reflected in antagonism and anger that they carry with them throughout life. But the truth is that genius is an exceedingly common human quality, probably natural to most of us.

We should break up institutional schools, decertify teaching, and let anyone who has a mind to teach bid for customers. Trust the customers to know if they're being cheated, and then give them a way to try something different.

We would have a much better teaching staff if we waived the requirement of having a college degree and opened the jobs to anyone. We'd have a much better teaching staff if we simply didn't allow anyone under the age of 40 to teach. I would also say that we could draw workers from the retired population of the country much more than we do today.

And you have to trust children more. ... We need to start from the cold-blooded premise that almost everyone is a genius -- not that almost everyone is worthless.

I encourage you to read the article and purchase Gatto's book. He's an incredible man.

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