Monday, June 9, 2008

Why I Unschool ( reason, anyway.)

This is a fabulous quote from John Taylor Gatto's UNBELIEVABLE book of essays and speeches entitled Dumbing Us Down - The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling. For those of you that don't know, Gatto achieved both Teacher of the Year for New York State, and for New York City, on separate years. So he knows his stuff. If you are a friend of mine, you can borrow my copy. I may even make it required reading in order to be my friend. Oh, come on now, I'm just kidding. Sort of.

"In theoretical, metaphorical terms, the idea I began to explore was this one; that teaching is nothing like the art of painting, where, by the addition of material to a surface, an image is synthetically produced, but more like the art of sculpture, where, by the subtraction of material, an image already locked in the stone is enabled to emerge. It is a crucial distinction. In other words, I dropped the idea that I was an expert whose job it was to fill the little heads with my expertise, and began to explore how I could remove those obstacles that prevented the inherent genius of children from gathering itself. I no longer felt comfortable defining my work as bestowing wisdom on a struggling classroom audience. Although I continue to this day in those futile assays because of the nature of institutional teaching, wherever possible I have broken with teaching tradition and sent kids down their separate paths to their own private truths."

This man is one of my heroes. You've just gotta read it. Okay?