We need an educational system in which everyone’s gifts can be nurtured, and talents developed. In the same vein this system should also help the “intensity complexity and drive” of the gifted to flourish. So, the system, or let’s call it process, must be free form. An educational process driven by the child, and guided by the mentor, can reap benefits for everyone, gifted or talented, or with gifts (the gift of humility, a singing gift, the gift of athletic ability) other than intellectual giftedness. This is why democratic and free education is so amazing. When the rigidity and forcefulness is taken out, and replaced by the opportunity to give everyone a chance to learn and develop what they are good at, we all succeed.
And know that child-led learning is not about producing the brainiest and most talented “superhumans’ available. It is more so about, like I said, giving one a chance to develop skill, and also a sense of community and flexibility that is greatly needed in this modern society of fast-paced regiments and automaton behavior. We’d find that under such a process, we’d get people better at their crafts and interests.
This past Friday, my 5th period was spent in the teacher’s lounge. I am the teacher’s assistant for a P.E. class, and on Friday’s, this is a typical scenario. Beforehand we went down to the district track, seeing how we have none of our own, in order to clean up after the walk-a-thon school fundraiser. I found a large pseudodreamcatcher on the way back! So in there we sat afterward. Some students read books, had conversations – others went to sleep. One boy was very interested in weird mythical creature sightings. He used his cell phone to gather information about their sightings, and he showed them to the teacher. Apparently, this was something being continued from earlier, because they had rediscussed other creatures. The teacher then raised a question about something else. She asked, “How can you abide by things of scientific origin such as evolution as well as religious things [such as creationism]?” None of the students really responded, and then it became a discussion between she and I. She told me that since she is a person of faith she doesn’t believe in evolution. She was not dissing it, but by her logic, it was contradicting to believe evolution AND creationism.
I agreed with her, say that the reason people believe both is because people are just conditioned so much these that that most of what is mass practiced or repeated is believed by the citizens of a society. I went on to say that in the end, since no one knows the true reality in its pure form, you can have everything and nothing at the same time. She said, ” Well if if it’s true for them…”
“But that doesn’t really matter.” If everyone’s view is that different, truth doesn’t matter. And in light of the absolute reality we can have everything – all the alternate realities and “truths”, and then nothing. She was confused on nothing and then the male student interrupted with his monster talk. Finally I came up with it. “Because the absolute reality is all there really is, then we have nothing as well if we were ever to come to that reality, because OUR reality will have become truly wrong and non existent.” She then understood. It was great. The first religious/spiritual conversation i had without great struggle and internal feelings of being hurt.
Then she had to get to a meeting, and she left early. So there the rest of us sat, or lounged…it is the teacher’s lounge after all. I decided to read a book about anarchism, and the other kids (in a grade below me by the way) started falling asleep; especially the tallest boy in the class, who I concluded is so tall because he sleeps so easily and a lot. When school ended, the receptionist entered the room to make copies. “What are you all doing here?” She asked. Groggy, and under the influence of a clock stuck in time, no one answered. “WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING ON HERE?!” She yelled. I proceeded to calmly explain that this is a routine thing, then the other kids hurried away.
Now, up until the part about the receptionist, our experience is typically how democratic/free schools are run. It’s a peaceful existence, without coercion. At times, this teacher suggests the kids do some work, but other times we are free to unwind. This one girl, who apparently loves acting, does a lot of improv with her friends and other classmates. Other kids have discussions. And no one’s being harrassed. It’s great.