Instruction does not address the immediate moment-by-moment concerns and questions of the learner

From the archives: Posted on the Learning list (a radical unschooling list) on 27th October, 1994

[The first post in this discussion is here.]

A poster wrote:

“At least none of the unschoolers I know of categorically reject ever being taught anything at all – they simply reject being forced… An unschooler who had a particular learning goal would naturally take whatever route was the most direct to accomplishing that goal, and that could well be a class, or turning to another, to be shown…”

Eric replied:

“Of the many responses to my challenge, most of them were along your lines. Unschoolers do whatever works for them. I expected that, because most unschoolers take the pragmatic “whatever works for the kids” approach.

Only Sarah’s post really defended the point I was questioning. She specifically asserted that, in general, taking a class was a poor way to learn things.”

Let me say again that I am not opposed to teaching or classes on principle. I see it as just a factual matter: it usually is not a very good way of learning things, that’s all. My reasons for thinking this will have to be left for another posting (on Learning List) but briefly: Eric rightly describes instruction as involving “organisation, schedule, and conceptual structure [coming] from the adult.” This is therefore likely to be less efficient as a means of learning, as, by the original poster’s own definition, instruction does not address the immediate moment-by-moment concerns and questions of the learner.

See also:

Sarah Fitz-Claridge, 1994, ‘Instruction does not address the immediate moment-by-moment concerns and questions of the learner’,