As I was organizing both my brain and my bookshelves for the upcoming school year, I came across this quote that challenges my thinking about education.
“Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If he’s not interested it’s like throwing marshmallows at his head and calling it eating.” – Katrina Gutleben
After I finished laughing, I started thinking about how much time I’ve wasted throwing marshmallows (or having them thrown at me). Although I generally consider myself “outside the box” when it comes to education, in reality, I’m not far outside the conventional box. I still start every September with a new set of books and a new set of goals to finish by May. Sometimes the goals are my own, and sometimes they’re actually shared by my children who must either catch my excitement and journey with me or get dragged along behind me.
My friend and fellow educational anarchist, I mean, homeschooler, said: I interpreted it to mean that the first step in teaching something was to excite the student’s interest, not that the student came with an innate interest in whatever was included in the curriculum. I have witnessed firsthand the power of an interessted student in my own kids. I have been a student all my life and have had lots of marshmallows thrown at my head (calculus ugh!), but I have also had the honor of being taught by at least two different people who were so excited by their work that they created an excitement in me for learning more.
What do y’all think?