"Children should be responsible for their own learning." Familiar as I am with this education world truism, it was only after I saw it echoed in educatoral's comment to my recent post that I made the connection to our tendency to blame children for their ignorance.
Here's what educatoral writes:
I'm not sure I understand what you mean by saying that no one has ever even attempted to teach kids those things. I agree that we are in need of reform to help our students learn how to take charge of their own learning, but I don't think there is a lack of teaching. At least not a widespread lack of teaching. Maybe teaching is the problem because there is, IMO, lots of teaching going on yet very little learning by the students. And also 59% of students not achieving a basic level on a standardized test isn't proof that they don't understand the phases of the moon.The problem is that the more responsibility we pass on to kids, the less responsibility we take; and the more time we spend trying to help our kids become responsible for their own learning, the less time we spend actually teaching them anything.
Furthermore, kids aren't little adults; they are novices who depend on direct, structured instruction in basic skills and fact-rich core knowledge before they're ready to start taking charge. Absent such direct instruction, there will, indeed, be "very little learning by the students." 59% of students not achieving a basic level on a standardized science test isn't proof that they don't understand the phases of the moon; it does, however, suggest that, on average, students are receiving a very low level of direct instruction of basic scientific knowledge.