Age-Based Schooling? It Doesn’t Make Sense

schoolkidsWhy do we divide children into grades and classrooms based on age? Niccolò Viviani (@NiccolViviani) of Exosphere writes that it just doesn’t make sense. In an article on, he writes:

We all know (it’s true for everyone and each of us!) that what you learn out of curiosity and interest sticks with you forever, while what you study out of threat of punishment will fade away very soon after the test is passed. Given that different people are curious and interested in different topics at different times, if we really care about learning we shouldn’t build a system that force every child on earth to study this when he is 7 years old and that when he is 7 years old and a half, this other thing when he is 12 and that one when he is 13.

Niccolo points out that in the real world, we have to interact with people of all different ages. Various circumstances and contexts lead us to take on different roles in relationship to other people – employee, manager, colleague, etc.. – but in the artificially constructed classroom, there are usually only two roles for students: peer and subordinate. One of the results, Niccolo says, is that school kids become college students who accept everything their professors teach without a second thought. One can see that same problem manifested by people listening indiscriminately to the TV pundit or the smooth-talking politician as well. Niccolo writes that this phenomenon is “based on the assumption that only experts could teach.”

In contrast, here’s the model that Exosphere proposes:

Older and younger students would play different roles in the learning environment and the variety would benefit all of them. Older students relating to younger peers would learn to tolerate and act respectful towards them and teaching them would become their best way to foster self-confidence about what they learned.

Click here to read the whole article.

To compliment this article, here’s Sir Ken Robinson’s world famous TED Talk, Changing Education Paradigms:

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