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    A Discussion on Children Learning What They Want

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    The question “what do I think we should be teaching and why?” is easy for me to answer. Children should learn what they want to learn and not what we force them to learn. For this paper, I could simply write a list of subjects that I think children need to learn. However, my philosophy of education is that each person’s inner desires should lead them to select those topics that interest them. As I am not those people, I am not qualified to pick out those subjects of most interest.

    In order to understand why it is important for children to learn what they want to, it is first necessary to define what education is. Education is the act of gaining understanding through learning. Understanding is an intrinsic good of education therefore my goal as an educator is to give a student as much understanding as possible. In allowing children to choose their own options from a limitless array of subjects, I am not putting up artificial barriers that would restrict the amount of understanding. As Shakespeare put it, “Why, then the world’s mine oyster, Which I with sword will open.” Pistol — (Merry Wives 2.2.3-4)” I would be merely acting as a tool with which children can explore the world for themselves.

    Children learn a greater amount of material (and therefore understand more) when they are interested in the subject matter. My five year old son is interested in collecting bugs. Collecting bugs exposes a young child to many elements of education. For example: mathematics through counting, and science through classification. If I restricted my son to choose from a pre-determined list of subjects, he would not be interested in learning with the same kind of fervor that he displays when collecting bugs. He would acquire little or no understanding of the subject, sitting in class perhaps dreaming about bug-collecting when he gets home. He would not be maximizing his potential understanding and therefore my son is not being educated effectively.

    Fostering a love of learning is another catchphrase banded around by teachers. What better way to foster this love than to allow a child to self-educate in any area his mind takes him? However, our system is set up at the present time to love a few choice subjects that the school system decides are ‘best’ subjects for the children to learn. While it is true that some students do well in school with this limited field of education, there are some students who fail. As the goal of education is to maximize understanding through learning, by only accommodating those students who are interested in regular academic subjects we are limiting the potential achievements of our curriculum before we even start. My curriculum would give every child an opportunity to learn something that is relevant and of interest to themselves–not just those children who fit into the cookie-cutter educational mold of success.

    In summary, children learn better when they learn what they want. If children are allowed to choose their subject matter, the act of choosing means that by definition they want to learn the subject and are interested. Choosing their own subjects will allow a child to learn more and gain understanding, therefore ensuring they succeed in becoming educated.

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    A Discussion on Children Learning What They Want. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://artscolumbia.org/a-discussion-on-children-learning-what-they-want/

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