“When we see that children everywhere are required by law to go to school, that almost all schools are structured in the same way, and that our society goes to a great deal of trouble and expense to provide such schools, we tend naturally to assume that there must be some good, logical reason for all this, writes Peter Gray in A Brief History of Education in Psychology Today. There isn’t, he argues.
Gray is the author of Free to Learn, which is subtitled “why unleashing the instinct to play will make our children happier, more self-reliant and better students.”
The teacher says, “you must do your work and then you can play.” Clearly, according to this message, work, which encompasses all of school learning, is something that one does not want to do but must; and play, which is everything that one wants to do, has relatively little value.
“Children whose drive to play is so strong that they can’t sit still for lessons are no longer beaten,” he writes. “Instead, they are medicated.”