In April this year, after reading this post by Zack, I purchased a book called “Weapons of Mass Instruction” by John Gatto, someone who had taught in public schools for 30 years before resigning from the out of date compulsory schooling system.
In the book, Gatto asks, “do we really need forced schooling? Six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. And if so, for what? We have been schooled to think “success” is synonymous with “schooling””. He goes on to show dozens of examples of successful people who didn’t finish high school, some who didn’t even attend (think George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad).
Compulsory schooling teaches us to be consumers, to listen to instructions and to follow, not lead. In most parts, I was crying reading this book, thinking finally- here’s someone saying there’s more to life than to get straight A’s, go to a good college and settle into a decent job. There are other paths than compulsory schooling because it’s not for everyone.
For me, my brain switched off from this system the minute I started high school. The work wasn’t stimulating nor was it interesting. The only two classes I enjoyed were Art & Sewing where I was able to shut off and let my creativity free (and surprisingly to this day, this is still where my passions lay) so when I wasn’t in these classes, I would be at home “sick”.
I was lucky, I left as soon as I turned 16, much to my parents disapproval. If only back then, my parents or myself knew a little something about the Montessori approach to education. Taken from the Perth Montessori website:
“A Montessori education is a method of education founded on knowledge of the development of the body and mind of the child as identified by Dr Maria Montessori.
Dr Montessori (1870 – 1952) was a person of great depth and insight. She was Italy’s first female doctor before stepping into the field for which she is so well known: early childhood education” (you can read more about it here & here).
If you’re a visual person like myself, maybe this video will be better at showing what the Montessori education is about.
It’s good to know there’s schools out there that offer an alternative approach to education such as the Montessori method & Steiner Education system.
What are your thoughts about the traditional school system? Did you enjoy it?