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June 9, 2018

The Best Way to Teach is to Explore

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If children know there is someone standing over them who knows all the answers,they are less inclined to find the answers for themselves. —Sugata Mitra

Tagging along on an adventure which is led by an adult is common for children. But how much of this do they know how to do on their own? Every individual looks for experiencing freedom and children are no exception. The scope is infinite and freedom should be given to explore that infinite. In an age of pedagogy, anxious parents instruct their children more and more, at younger and younger ages, until they’re reading books to babies in the womb. Teachers are pressured to make kindergartens and nurseries more like elementary schools. Shouldn’t very young children be given the opportunity to explore, inquire, play, and discover? Perhaps direct instruction can help children learn specific facts and skills, but what about curiosity and creative abilities that are even more important for learning in the long run? Learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution.

We often assume that most learning is the result of teaching and that exploratory, spontaneous learning is unusual. But actually, spontaneous learning is fundamental. It’s this kind of learning that allows children to learn from teachers in the first place. It is essential to give children’s remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein in a rich, stable, and safe environment, with caring and supportive grown-ups, and opportunities for exploration and play.
It’s amazing what we see when we are actually looking. Children have an amazing ability to see wonder in the details that are often overlooked. Spending some time on their level and watching their curiosity take off may reveal that we have much to learn from children.