"Children are required to be in school, where their freedom is greatly restricted, far more than most adults would tolerate in their workplaces. In recent decades we’ve been compelling them to spend ever more time in this kind of setting, and there’s strong evidence that this is causing psychological damage to many of them. And as scientists have investigated how children naturally learn, they’ve realized that kids do so most deeply and fully, and with greatest enthusiasm, in conditions that are almost opposite to those of school….
Most people assume that the basic design of today’s schools emerged from scientific evidence about how children learn. But nothing could be further from the truth.
Schools as we know them today are a product of history, not research.
Research has shown that people of all ages learn best when they are self-motivated, pursuing answers to questions that reflect their personal interests and achieving goals that they’ve set for themselves. Under such conditions, learning is usually joyful.
The evidence for all of this is obvious to anyone who’s watched a child grow from infancy to school age. Through their own efforts, children figure out how to walk, run, jump, and climb. They learn from scratch their native language, and with that, they learn to assert their will, argue, amuse, annoy, befriend, charm, and ask questions.
They do all of this before anyone, in any systematic way, tries to teach them anything.
This amazing drive and capacity to learn does not turn itself off when children reach five or six. But we turn it off with our coercive system of schooling.”