Monday, October 24, 2011

The Simple Truth about Why Children Don’t Like School

Guest post Cathy Earle

Peter Gray says that freedom is the most important ingredient in learning. He also says that schools are prisons.

Schools are not like prisons—it's not a metaphor. According to Gray, public schools are true prisons in that most children have to go, and, once there, they have their activities — even their biological necessities — controlled and curtailed.

So, who is this guy? Why should we care what Peter Gray has to say?

Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College and a specialist in developmental and evolutionary psychology. He has published articles on innovative teaching methods and alternative approaches to education; and is author of Psychology, an introductory college textbook now in its 6th edition. He did his undergraduate study at Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Rockefeller University. His current research and writing focuses primarily on children's natural ways of learning and the life-long value of play. His own play includes not only his research and writing, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, back-woods skiing, and vegetable gardening.

See what he has to say in the video below.

 For additional insights, visit Peter's blog at

Cathy Earle is an educator who has worked in public schools and a variety of private venues. She has been a curriculum lab director, a managing editor at an education publishing house, and a freelance education writer working for such clients as The Learning Company, Orange County Department of Education, and Disney Software. She homeschooled her own children from birth to college, using child-led and interest-based methods rather than formal academic teaching. Her daughters are now grown and successful.  Her blog for children, Every Day Is Special, can be found at

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