Taken from an article published in Alternative Education Resource Organization:
“1. Sometimes you have to get up when it’s still dark.
Research has shown that children generally learn better when they start school later.
2. Most schools dispense curriculum from the top down, from distant sources.
Children learn best when the approach is learner-centered, based on their interest.
3. Students are forced to stay in classrooms and are not allowed to leave.
. . . children are happier and learn better when they are free to come and go.
4. Children in most schools are forced to sit in rows of desks and not move around.
Research shows that it is unhealthy for children to not move around, and is especially painful for kinesthetic learners.
5. In most schools learning takes place in rigid periods, governed by bells.
. . . children need to learn according to their own rhythms, working on projects until they are finished.
6. In most schools bullying is rampant and there is no effective mechanism to control it.
There is almost no bullying in democratic schools, and if there is a problem it can be brought up in a democratic meeting . . .
7. In most schools, irrelevant homework is assigned, which students are forced to do at home and turn in at school.
If students are following their own interests, homework is not necessary. If children are natural learners, assigning them to study information not of interest only serves to extinguish that natural ability to learn.
8. In most schools children are segregated into classes of students who are their exact age.
This is “socialization” to a bizarre environment they will never experience in their life after school. Children learn best in mixed age groups in which they can collaborate with children of different ages and backgrounds.
9. In most schools children are forced to compete for grades in every subject.
Grades have been shown to be a false motivator . . .
10. In most schools students are forced to take many hours of standardized tests, often without ever knowing whether their answers were right or wrong.
Teaching to tests pushes students in exactly the wrong direction. . .”
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