Here’s your weekly moment of “EduZen” to think about this weekend:
The common view, one that underpins almost all educational enterprises that have arisen over the past 150 years, is that motivation must be instilled from without, by a pedagogically sophisticated educator. This view is understandable when education is considered a way to enforce a particular social agenda on children. From the realization that such coercion inevitably arouses antagonism came the need to convince children that society’s agenda is actually their own agenda, too; only then would children in school be able to learn effectively. The primary activity of schooling became pedagogy, instilling in children motivation to do what the school authorities wanted them to do (or, in plainer terms, seducing children to think they love spinach by looking for ways to cook it that would make it seem delicious to them).
The reason this has been such a dismal failure, especially as the information age unfolds, is that seduction is ultimately a poor tool for a long-term relationship—in this case, between a person and an area of study (Kindle 414).
If you were building it from scratch, is this what you would build?
Katie Haulter says
I just wanted to say that I find the title of this article highly offensive. As an educator who is horrified every time a “teacher” molests or takes advantage of a student, I would caution this kind of word choice. The sagacity of the article is hidden behind such a title.
Will Richardson says
Thanks for the comment, and I can understand your reaction. “Seduce” is very often used in non-sexual terms, however, which is the way that I think Ackoff and certainly I intended it. Apologies for any discomfort nonetheless.
Dan Meyer says
> … seducing children to think they love spinach by looking for ways to cook it that would make it seem delicious to them …
Should young children be allowed to choose 100% of their own diet? If no, if there are food groups that children should eat even though they wouldn’t choose to eat them on their own, how does education differ?
Joe Weeder says
Great post. The seduction to learn is very forced and fleeting. It is becoming more common sense in education that real learning comes from within. That independence of learning scares policy makers because that type of learning cannot be easily assessed and tracked and put on a graph. Think of why kids perform in school…it rarely is for the sake of learning and gathering knowledge. Kids do well in school to outperform their peers, to get a prize or reward or a pat on the back, or for good grades.
More and more families are figuring this out and switching to homeschooling or unschooling.
I am a teacher myself Will and I really enjoy reading your stuff.