On the Facebook page “Alphabet – der Film“, Bernice Zieba advertised the book “Children Do Not Need a School”. She also pointed out that and where you can order the book. The book is about “Homeschooling und Unschooling”. I have not (yet) read the book – consequently, I cannot evaluate it. However, I know the film Alphabet quite well and I strongly recommend watching it.
On Facebook, this entry caused an intense discussion among those in favour and those against compulsory school attendance. The discussion excited me quite a lot, especially because my own experiences with school, both as a student and father of several pupils were anything but positive. Consequently, movements such as “Sudbury – Free at Last” (Sudbury – endlich frei) sound rather attractive to me, at least as a beautiful utopia.
Hence, I could not suppress my desire to write my own comment on the situation of education and school. My comment contained the following ideas:
Schools all over the world teach, instead of instructing. They do not motivate students to ask questions and think. Instead, they only teach knowledge without knowing. Consequently, the usual rule is that we get knowledge bulimia.
Attempts of the pupils to be autonomous are considered troublesome, the same is true for critical positions. Enlightenment is not encouraged in schools and has become an anti-word. Because it seems to be the major and exclusive pedagogic goal of the educational systems to shape persons in such a way that they will function as frictionless as possible in the final system. It seems that the teachers actually are told to take all creativity from the students and to make them adaptable. This is how we produce system-conform consumers who fit perfectly and without protest into the non-humane performance society.
There is one thing the modern schools and educational systems of this world are extremely good at: indoctrination! Only the degree of indoctrination still varies between schools and cultures.
But indoctrination is the enemy of life in freedom and dignity. This is not how a reasonable change can be accomplished. In fact, we will not even find the “social consensus” which is a requirement for a constructive, humane and enlightened development of our society if we continue in this way.
Here is an example: an honest discourse might be helpful – yet this cannot be realized if we never learned to use the necessary tools!
It seems clear that making sure the next generation has a good education is a central task of all societies (also of ours). This should probably have the highest priority. Yet in actual fact we witness a total failure of our educational system. The deficits found in our schools increase all the time. For many social groups, the situation gets worse and worse.
Regardless of all this, I personally tend to scepticism towards concepts like “Homeschooling und Unschooling”. And I would only find them reasonable in very special cases as a last resort or “ultima ratio”.
Well, so far my comment. But let me say one more thing: I am glad that there are still teachers out there who fight against this – probably world-wide – development by refusing to bend their knees to the pressure of systemic forces. Some of them are known to me personally – and I appreciate them. But unfortunately, I get the impression that they are more and more lone fighters, getting fewer and fewer.
(Translated by EG)
Incidentally, I do not really understand why we always have to use those hideous US phrases, such as “Homeschooling or Unschooling”?