Sunday, October 07, 2018

Peter Gray, reservations about an article

First, Peter Gray's statement about the article:

Peter Gray
Sunday, October 7, 2018

I'M HAPPY about this article on unschooling in today's Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. HOWEVER, I AM UNHAPPY about certain statements that were misattributed to me. In the 8th paragraph, and, worst of all, in the caption under my photo, are words implying that I believe that all children "need" or must "study" reading, basic math, and computers, and that everything else should be optional. That is not what I said. In fact, anyone who knows my writing knows I believe that all of learning should be self-chosen and self-directed, and that means optional.

What I actually said in the interview, which was misconstrued in this article, was something like the following, in response to a question about what children in Self-Directed Education learn:
"All children learn the skills that are essential to human life everywhere--such as walking on two legs, speaking a language, and getting along with others. All children also learn the skills that are most essential to success in the culture in which they are growing up. In a hunter-gather culture these are skills related to hunting and gathering. In our culture these include reading, ability to calculate with numbers, and ability to use computers. Beyond that, what everyone learns varies greatly from person to person."
It is frustrating to have one's words turned around, but I can understand how it happens. It is difficult for someone new to these ideas to understand them and it is natural to hear things in a manner that fits with one's preconceptions. All in all, I think Michael Blanding did a good job with this article. It is worth reading and spreading, even though I am embarrassed by the misquotations attributed to me.

Twenty percent of home-schooled kids are getting ‘unschooled.’ What’s that?
The resource centers are popping up around Boston, around the idea that children should get to choose what they learn.

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