Thursday, April 19, 2007

Autonomy

DJ was up all night - too excited to sleep!

"I found out how to set up the live TV on my computer! I only need better signal! Or a longer cable instead of the aerial... So that's a bit of autonomous home education that I did all by myself! And, I downloaded a different Flash programme, different but very similar to the one I once had, and I'm using this big tutorial to teach myself! Could you get me a longer cable now?"

I noticed not only his incredible excitement but also that he was

* reflecting on, and expressing, what he had done so far
* working out the next problem solving step
* aware of what autonomous education is all about
* absolutely determined to do what he had set out to do

DJ went off, calculated the length he needed for the cable he wanted, and then, after all the measuring was done, explained exactly what he needed. So I went to the local shop and come back with the requested materials. He went back to his project and, a little later, came out and said:

"I did it! I've managed to set it all up, all by myself, so now I can watch TV on my computer. I can pause, rewind and fast forward, which means I can fast forward through all those annoying adverts when I'm watching a film! I have the benefits of sky plus for free! And I can also record!"

Then he went on and on, trying to explain what's the difference between analogue and digital and why he can only get the basic 5 channels.

It seems pretty obvious that he is rediscovering that learning IS fun, working things out IS fun and that he is really enjoying the buzz he is getting out of it. This buzz is also known as lust for learning.

It has been known, for more than two thousand years, that this is something we all share. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) noticed how "all men by nature desire knowledge." Hobbes, in 1651, also talked about this passion, "which is a lust of the mind, that by a perseverance of delight in the continual and indefatigable generation of knowledge, exceeds the short vehemence of any carnal pleasure." So there, it's even better than sex!

Well... unless, like Alfie Kohn says, "we destroy the ... love of learning in children, which is so strong when they are small, by encouraging and compelling them to work for petty and contemptible rewards--gold stars, or papers marked 100 and tacked to the wall, or A's on report cards, or honour rolls, or dean's lists... in short, for the ignoble satisfaction of feeling that they are better than someone else."

Right now, DJ is busy, and he explains "I'm learning about team work because I'm trying to make friends and allies so we can help each other in Civ IV, a multiplayer online game."

Moving on, to the blogosphere, thanks Gill, for a class divided, which we can watch online. I've also found an interesting post on Blogdial: Germany and Taliban united; They both ban home schooling.

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