Expert claims risk-taking and mistake-making aid learning
TEACHERS NEED to encourage children to do the “dumb stuff” of youth or risk turning their schools into “learning graveyards”, a leading child psychologist has said.
Allowing children to be impulsive and reckless helps them to learn more effectively than over-planned lessons, which make schools too homogeneous, according to Dr Chris Thurber, a teacher at one of the US’s most elite boarding schools.
“Kids do dumb stuff – it’s built into their brains. It’s simple biology,” Dr Thurber said. “However, safety measures can retard learning when taken to an extreme. There is a three-way balance between protecting young people, engineering outcomes and allowing learning to happen. We can only achieve that balance when we recognise the value of dumb stuff.”
Children should not be actively encouraged to do dangerous things, such as skateboarding without pads, but should be given the freedom to make their own mistakes, he added.
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