The question is: The new ways of dealing with education, such as home-schooling and alternative schools; are these new methods, or other different methods that help children to be educated, better than the old system of schooling?
This is very difficult to answer in a general way simply because each child is different, just as each human being is different. Some children learn under certain circumstances much better than others; other children, if you try the same alternative or free method, simply just lose interest because there is not enough challenge or they don’t comprehend that way of learning in the same way as a more direct and more thorough way of teaching.
So, the quick answer to this question is that there is no perfect method, there is no perfect system, as in the end it really depends on the child and it depends on the person teaching. The character of the person teaching will influence the method and the way it’s being taught. I would say though, if there is one very important thing to remember, it is that inactivity or a lack of stimulation for children, in any sense, in an educational sense or also in an emotional sense, or in a more general sense, only creates boredom, which then creates frustration and that allows for the child to, not only not learn, but to get into a space where there is a sense of apathy. With apathy they lose that sense of awe that happens when children are totally fascinated by what is going on.
Children have a natural and innate ability to want to know and understand things all the time in every way, but that is lost if it’s not fed, just like anything else – if there is no interaction in any emotional way or social way then something is lost. So for me, the first thing when it comes to education is that learning is important and never to lose the feeling that learning has value.
Also not to learn simply because it’s important to get a qualification, that it is important for your child to pass an exam, or learn certain things at a certain age, but to stimulate the learning process so that the value of education is seen as, not only important for the child, but as part of growing up in every sense; and that everything is education; that education is not just learning mathematics for half an hour or learning to read for one hour at school, but every activity is education and then you create that sense of challenge.
I believe that in the Western world there is not enough challenge, that education stupefies most children because it doesn’t allow for their innate intelligence to go beyond a certain point. We have created, for example in the UK, what is known as the national curriculum and this is an idea that children have to follow a certain method of learning and a certain amount of learning by certain ages but we know that children today are getting more intelligent than children 50 years ago, that there is much more information that they can deal with and understand simply because they’ve inherited qualities that 50 years ago children were not aware of, or even their parents were not aware of and so it is important that education moves at the same speed as our culture, and our development that is happening in the world today.
Today everything is moving much quicker, so it is very important that that sense of awe information is put across to the children in a way that creates a value rather than a separation from education so that every moment is an education.
In my opinion education cannot be separate from the experience of life. It is not to separate the learning and say this aspect is different from life, where you learn mathematics and that is not related to anything in life, but to bring in the basic concepts of learning so that they become integrated in everyday life; emotional life not just physical life, the movement of the body and the way of dealing with circumstances around, and everything then becomes interrelated.
For me education is that in every moment there needs to be learning and a sense of value in that learning and also more, there needs to be a sense of the learning fitting into the whole picture of what is going on in life. There needs to be an interconnectedness in education, which in the past was quite separate, and the classroom was very separate from everyday experiences in life and if we bring education into the world, for example, if the children bring education into the playground, or into back home, into what they are doing at home, what they’re doing with their parents, what they’re doing with their grandparents and so on, then education goes much more into a complete sense of the person than what has been in the past.
(Excerpt from “Conscious Parents, Happy Children” by Tony Samara…to be released in 2012)
Tony Samara, author of ‘Shaman’s Wisdom,’ ‘From the Heart,’ ‘Different Yet the Same,’ and ‘Deeper than Words’ was born in England, grew up in Egypt and also in Norway where he discovered the “Zen Buddhist philosophy”. This discovery eventually led him to the “Mount Baldy Zen Center in California, USA” where he learned the spiritual teachings of “Kyozan Joshu Sasaki.” He had curiosity to explore further the essence of spirituality and thus went to live and learn with shamanic communities around the globe including a period of time spent with some highly influential shamans in the Amazon River region and the Andes Mountains. Now people from all over the world visit Tony Samara to take spiritual guidance and experience being in his presence. http://www.tonysamara.org/
More from Tony Samara: