To understand schools, we must look at them from a historical perspective. When we see that the law requires children all over the world to go to school, almost all schools have the same structure, and our provision of such schools involves a lot of trouble and Cost, we naturally tend to think that there must be some reasonable and logical reasons for all this.
Maybe if we don’t force children to go to school, or if schools operate very differently, children will not become capable adults. Maybe some really smart people have figured out all this and proved it in some way, or maybe they have tried other ways of thinking about child development and education but have failed. In the previous post, I have presented evidence to the contrary.
In particular, in my August 13 post, I described Sudbury Valley School, where children have been educating themselves in an environment based on assumptions contrary to traditional education for 40 years. Research on schools and their graduates has shown that normal and ordinary children are educated through their own play and exploration, without the guidance or encouragement of adults, and become effective and fulfilling adults in a larger culture.
The school does not provide direction and motivation, but provides a rich environment in which people can play, explore and experience democracy firsthand; compared with operating a standard school, it offers a lower cost and less trouble for each The participants caused trouble. So why is this not the case in most schools? If we want to understand why standard schools are like this, we must give up the idea that they are a logical necessity or the product of scientific knowledge.
On the contrary, they are the product of history. The school education that exists today is meaningful only from a historical perspective. Therefore, as the first step to explain why the school is like this, I will summarize the history of education from the beginning of mankind to the present in a few sentences. Most education history students will use different terms than what I use here, but I suspect they will deny the overall accuracy of the sketches.
In fact, I have used the works of these scholars to help me develop sketches. Initially, for hundreds of thousands of years, children educated themselves through independent play and exploration. In terms of the biological history of our species, the school is the closest institution. For hundreds of thousands of years, before the advent of agriculture, we lived on hunting and gathering. In my post on August 2nd, I summarized the anthropological evidence that children in hunter-gatherer culture learned the knowledge needed to become effective adults through their own play and exploration.
In our evolution as hunter-gatherers, children’s strong urge to play and explore is considered to satisfy the need for education. Adults in hunter-gatherer culture allow children almost unlimited freedom to play and explore because they recognize that such activities are a natural way for children to learn. With the rise of agriculture and later industry, children became forced laborers. Games and exploration are suppressed. The will that was once a virtue has become a vice that children must overcome. The invention of agriculture began in some parts of the world 10,000 years ago and later appeared in other areas, setting off a whirlwind of change.
Lifestyle. The way of life of hunter-gatherers is intensive in terms of skills and knowledge, but not in terms of labor. In order to be effective hunters and gatherers, people must have a broad understanding of the plants and animals they depend on and the landscapes in which they forage. They must also master superb skills in making and using hunting and gathering tools. They must be able to be proactive and creative in finding food and tracking games.
However, they do not have to work long hours. The work they do is exciting, not boring. Anthropologists report that the hunter-gatherer groups they studied did not distinguish between work and recreation. Basically, all life is understood as a game. Agriculture gradually changed all of this.
With agriculture, people can produce more food and thus have more children. Agriculture also allows people (or forces people) to live in permanent homes where crops are grown, instead of living a nomadic life, which in turn enables people to accumulate property. But these changes come at the cost of huge labor costs. When hunter-gatherers skillfully harvest the harvest of nature, farmers must plough, plant, cultivate, and take care of the sheep. The success of agriculture requires long repetitive and relatively unskilled tasks, most of which can be done by children. For larger families, children have to work in the fields to help feed their younger siblings, or they have to work at home to help take care of these younger siblings. Children’s lives have gradually changed from freely pursuing their own interests to more and more time devoted to the work needed to serve other members of the family. Agriculture and related land ownership and property accumulation have also caused significant status differences.
People who have no land become dependent on those who own land. In addition, landlords discovered that they could increase their wealth by letting others work for them. Slavery and other forms of slavery have been developed. Those who have wealth can become richer with the help of others who depend on them for survival. All of this reached its peak in medieval feudalism, when the social hierarchy was distinct, with a few kings and lords at the upper level, and a large number of slaves and serfs at the lower level. Now many people, including children, are servants.
The main lessons for children to learn are obedience, suppression of their will, and awe of the lords and masters. A rebellious spirit is likely to lead to death. In the Middle Ages, the lords and teachers did not hesitate to beat the children to make them surrender. For example, in a document from the end of the 14th century or the beginning of the 15th century, a French earl warned that noble hunters should “choose a servant of seven or eight years old” and that “…this boy should be beaten because there is a real I am afraid of not following the owner’s orders.
“ This document went on to list a large number of tasks that the boy had to complete every day and pointed out that he would sleep on the dog in the attic at night and take care of the dog in Para. With the rise of industry and the new bourgeoisie, feudalism gradually declined, but this did not immediately improve the lives of most children. Like landlords, business owners need labor and can benefit by extracting as much work as possible with as little compensation as possible. Everyone knows the subsequent exploitation, which still exists in many parts of the world. People, including young children, spend most of their waking hours, 7 days a week, working in harsh conditions just to survive. The children’s work shifted from fields with at least sunshine, fresh air, and some opportunities for play to dark, crowded and dirty factories. In the UK, poor people’s supervisors used to bring poor people’s children to factories, where they were treated as slaves. Thousands of people die of disease, hunger, and exhaustion every year. It was not until the 19th century that Britain passed laws restricting child labor. For example, in 1883, new legislation prohibited textile manufacturers from hiring children under 9 years old and restricted the maximum weekly working hours for children 10-12 years old to 48 hours, and the maximum weekly working hours for children 13-17 years old 69 hours
. In short, in the thousands of years after the advent of agriculture, the education of children was to a large extent a problem of shattering their stubbornness and making them good workers. A good boy is an obedient child who suppresses his desire to play and explore and diligently executes the orders of the adult teacher. Fortunately, this kind of education has never been completely successful. The human instinct for play and exploration is so powerful that it can never be completely eliminated from children. However, the educational philosophy of the entire period, to the extent it can be clarified, is diametrically opposed to the philosophy held by hunter-gatherers hundreds of thousands of years ago.
The concept of universal compulsory education gradually emerged and spread. Education is understood as indoctrination. With the advancement and automation of the industry, the demand for child labor has decreased in some parts of the world. The idea that childhood should be learning time began to spread, and children’s schools developed into learning places.
The concept and practice of universal compulsory public education gradually developed in Europe from the early 16th century to the 19th century. This is an idea with many supporters who have their own agenda for the lessons that children should learn. Most of the driving force for universal education comes from the emerging Protestant religion. Martin Luther declared that salvation depends on everyone’s own reading of the Bible.
One inference that Luther did not ignore is that everyone must learn to read, and must also learn that the Bible represents absolute truth, and salvation depends on an understanding of these truths. Luther and other Reformation leaders advocated public education as the responsibility of Christians to save the soul from the eternal curse. At the end of the 17th century, Germany, as a leader in educational development, most of its states enacted laws requiring children to go to school; however, schools were managed by the Lutheran church rather than the state
. In the United States, in the middle of the 17th century, Massachusetts
became the first colony to mandate school education, and its clearly stated purpose was to turn children into excellent Puritans. Starting in 1690, children in Massachusetts and neighboring colonies began to learn to read the New England primer, colloquially called the “New England Little Bible”
. It includes a set of short rhymes to help children learn the alphabet, beginning with “We all sinned in the fall of Adam” and ending with “Zacchaeus climbs the tree, his Lord sees.” The handbook also includes the Lord’s Prayer, the Creed, the Ten Commandments, and various courses designed to instill in children the fear of God and the sense of responsibility to the elders. Industry employers view education as a way to cultivate better workers. For them, the most important lessons are punctuality, obey orders, endure long and tedious work, and minimal literacy skills.
From their point of view (although they might not say so), the more boring the subjects taught in the school, the better. As the country consolidates and becomes more concentrated, national leaders see education as a means to train outstanding patriots and future soldiers. For them, the important lesson is about the glory of the motherland, the great achievements and moral virtues of the country’s founders and leaders, and the necessity to defend the country from evil forces elsewhere.
He really cares about children, and their messages can resonate in our ears today. These people see school as a place to protect children from the destructive forces of the outside world and to provide children with the moral and intellectual foundations they need to become upright and capable adults. But they also have an agenda about what children should learn. Children must learn ethics courses and subjects, such as Latin and mathematics, to exercise their thinking and allow them to learn so that everyone involved in creating and supporting the school has a clear understanding of the curriculum that children should learn in school. It is completely correct. No one believes that children can learn the lessons they (adults) consider very important even in a rich learning environment, even in a rich learning environment.
Everyone sees school as an indoctrination, implanting certain truths and ways of thinking into children’s minds. Whether it was then or now, the only known methods of installation are forced repetition and memory testing of repetitive content. With the rise of school education, people began to regard learning as children’s work. The power-confidence methods once used to get children to work in the fields and factories naturally transfer to the classroom. Their. Just as it is not easy for children to adapt to work in the fields and factories, it is not easy for them to adapt to school.
This is not surprising to the adults involved. At this point in the story, the children’s own stubborn ideas that have some value have been largely forgotten. Everyone believes that in order for children to study in school, they must overcome their stubbornness. Various punishments are understood as internal factors of the educational process. In some schools, children are allowed a certain amount of playtime (break time) so that they can vent; but games are not regarded as learning tools. In the classroom, drama is the enemy of learning. The remarkable attitude of the school authorities towards gambling in the 18th century is reflected in John Wesley’s rules for Wesley’s schools, which include the following statement: “Since we don’t have a game day, we have not set aside time for any day to play? Who can play like a child Play like a man.”
 The brute force method that has long been used to get children to perform tasks on farms or factories is transported to school for children to learn. Some school teachers with meager income and poor preparation are obviously sadistic. A German teacher recorded the punishment he suffered in 51 years of teaching. Part of the list includes: “911,527 times with a stick, 124,010 times with a stick, 20,989 times with a ruler, 136,715 times with a hand, 10,235 times to blow to the mouth and hit 7,905 boxes of ears, 1,118,800 hits on the head.”
 Obviously, this teacher is proud of all the education he has done. In his autobiography, John Bernard is a famous 18th-century minister in Massachusetts. He approvingly described himself as being beaten by school teachers when he was a child.
 He was defeated by his irresistible desire to play; he was beaten when he could not learn; he was even beaten when he was studying. Their classmates can’t learn because he is a smart boy. He is responsible for helping others to learn. When they recite an incorrect lesson, he is beaten. His only complaint was that a classmate deliberately failed to do so. He was seen assaulted in his class. He finally solved the problem and gave his classmates “a good beating” after school and threatened to beat him in the future. That was the good old days. Recently, education methods have become less demanding, but the basic assumptions have not changed.
Learning is still defined as a child’s work, and the power of self-confidence is used to allow the child to complete this work. In the 19th and 20th centuries, public schools gradually evolved into the traditional schools that we recognize today.
Disciplinary methods become more humane, or at least less physical; curriculum becomes more secular; as knowledge expands, curriculum expands to include more and more subjects; compulsory education hours, days, and years continue to increase. School gradually replaced fieldwork, factory work, and housework as the children’s main jobs. Just like adults spend eight hours a day in the workplace, today’s children spend six hours a day in school, plus an hour or more of homework, and usually more extracurricular classes. As time goes by, children’s lives are increasingly defined and arranged by school curricula.
Now, children are almost universally recognized by their grades in school, just as adults are recognized by their job or occupation. Today’s schools are not as harsh as they used to be, but certain premises regarding the nature of learning remain the same: learning is hard work; this is something that children should be forced to do, rather than happen naturally through activities of their own choosing thing. The specific curriculum that children should learn is determined by professional educators, not children, so today’s education is still a problem of indoctrination as it used to be (although educators tend to avoid using the word and use “discovery” incorrectly. Today’s smart educators can use “games” as a tool for children to enjoy some lessons.
Children can have free play time during breaks (although this situation is declining recently), but children’s games are The foundation of education is of course considered insufficient. Children’s play motivation is so strong that they can’t wait to die in class, they are no longer beaten; instead, they receive medication. Today, the school is where all children learn hunter-gatherers never Know the difference: the difference between work and play. The teacher said: “You have to do your work, and then you can play.” Obviously, according to this information, the work that includes all school studies is something you don’t want to do but must do; and to play, this is what you want to do.
Relatively little value. This may be the main lesson of our education method. If children do not learn anything else in school, they will understand the difference between work and play.
Learning is work, not play. In this article, I tried to explain how human history led to the development of schools as we know them. Nowadays. In my next article, I will discuss some of the reasons why modern attempts to reform schools in a fundamental way are so ineffective.