152: Peter Gray, part 1: Free to Learn
Nobody likes being coerced to do something you don’t want under threat of punishment. Nor do people like being told they’re wrong or ignorant by someone else telling you they know better.
Yet it happens all the time. Much of our politics and public dialog — our leadership — is about coercion, self-righteousness, hitting people over the head with facts, and the like, especially around the environment.
It doesn’t work. Rather it works at something — at people resisting, disengaging, undermining leaders’ authority. The opposite of what we want. Particularly in the area of environmental behavior. There’s a lot of self-righteousness, attempts to coerce, expectations that facts will change behavior.
Why do we do it? Would you be surprised to find that our educational system specifically teaches us that way, yet almost no one notices it. W don’t have to work this way. For most of human history we haven’t. People are recreating education that works at not just factual recall and coercion but developing children as people.
Today’s guest, Peter Gray, is an expert on just that. What you will find unbelievable at first, if you’re like me, and will misunderstand, but as you pull at the string, you’ll find the whole sweater unravel, revealing something new. We talked about self-directed education, which I think you’ll find fascinating and not what you expected. What started for me as unbelievable but transformed into what you’ll hear.
It’s longer than my usual episodes, but it’s what I wish I had heard decades ago. If I were a parent or grade school kid, I’d love learning Peter’s work..
I hope you follow this link to my blog post linking to his column, book, and other related resources.
Read the transcript.