LATEST NEWS: April 24, 2003
Natural Learning website revived

The Natural Learning website has been revived! It is now 9 months since our hosting provider collapsed.

We hope that you will find the material on this site of use -at least in confirming your own philosophy of education. Please let us know what you think.

If you would like to contribute to the site, please email us.

RECENT OPINION: March 03, 2002
A paradigm shift

Abandoning the institution of school and taking a natural learning approach is really a paradigm shift.

Most people will not understand that natural learning does not involve children following a curriculum, taking exams, being socialised (through peers), using textbooks, etc. At best they will think that you are a bit daring, slightly unusual, experimenters.... at worst they will think that you are dangerous, putting your kids at risk or should be reported....

How can you show them that natural learning is OK?

Well, I don't know that there is any simple way of going about this. This is because it is a paradigm shift. Almost everybody has been enculturated with school, and therefore cannot see that there may be a valid and viable alternative.

Some of the approaches that I have tried include:

* reminding them that some of the most important things they have learned, they didn't learn in school
* reminding them that much of the stuff they learnt in school was either incorrect, racist or sexist, outdated, unrelated to their current needs, or plain boring

* reminding them that school, as an institution, is barely 150 years old, and in most countries not much more than 100 years old, and that before universal schooling was put in place natural learning was the norm.
* remind them that the reasons for establishing universal schooling were more about social factors involved in producing working for the new industrial world of the 18th and early 19th Century
*remind them that the kinds of social skills (obedience, deference, and unquestionning behaviour) and the education production function (didactic instruction) needed for factories aren't those needed for the post-industrial age of today, where self-motivation, self-direction and self-instruction are critical along with the broad generic skills of communication, information management, problem solving, team-working, and lateral-thinking that are highly sought after by employers.

* remind them that education research demonstrates that the the learning environment of home is a better indicator of educational success than the learning environment of school
* remind them that intrinsic motivation to learn is far more important in the long run than extrinsic motivation (such as through exams)
* remind them that school bears no relation to the real life situations of the workplace or home environment.

As with all opinion, you might disagree, or have something better to add. Please use the comments facility to do so! Offensive material will be deleted!