Who Says… Learning Starts At School?

Part of the series Who says…
Written by Léo Gaumont, published on 2014-11-10.

Are we talking about learning or indoctrination?

Building on a foundation that God is, that He created the universe and that He ultimately is responsible for our children’s being, should provide ample substance upon which to build our faith. This lengthy series will identify the secular thinking that has eroded that faith.

Bible Reference: Deut. 6:4-6

Walking with my wife a few years ago, we stumbled upon a windowless, characterless building with a sign that read “Tiny Tot Day Care – Where Learning Starts”. Understanding that preschool children were being incarcerated in that ugly building while their parents pursued careers was disturbing enough, but to claim that learning would start there, simply did not make any sense.

When does learning start? That is a tough one to answer, but it sure does not start in a day care or a school. No one knows the point at which learning starts. It doesn’t actually start at birth, but more likely while the child is still in the womb, where once the brain is fully formed, it begins to recognize sounds. After birth, learning proceeds at a very rapid pace and continues on throughout one’s life. Henry Ford once quipped that you are old when you stop learning, but it is really hard to imagine when anyone actually stops learning. We may be able to slow it down, direct or redirect it, but is it possible to actually stop it? Learning starts when conscience life begins, occurs everywhere, all the time and probably does not even end at death but continues into eternity, as the soul is eternal, which bring us to another point.

Learning is natural. There is no need to learn to learn, as learning is as natural as sneezing, coughing and going to the bathroom. While animals display some capacity for learning, most of their behavior is more instinctive than learned. Humans, on the other hand, are born with a few instincts and a great capacity for learning, which can be either passive or active. Passive learning just happens through experience. It does not take long to learn that a hot stove is not to be touched. Active learning is willfully engaged in to gather information that we want or have to learn. Neither instinct nor passive or active learning starts at school or requires a school. So why do we need that place?

No doubt, things will be learned at school, but learning could never start in that place, unless of course, we were referring to the beginning a process of directing students to think in a certain way. We should not confuse natural learning, which can best be described as gathering what we need to learn when we need or want to learn it, with being directed to learn what someone or something else wants us to learn, which is an involuntary form of learning known as indoctrination. Learning starts with life but institutional indoctrination begins at school, continues for the next twelve years or so, eventually ending with the institutional stamp of approval, the diploma.

Who says that learning starts in school? The institution that wants us all to think the same way, does.

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