John Taylor Gatto: Libraries vs. Schools

John Taylor Gatto has written and spoken some revolutionary things about education and schooling.  He was an award-winning teacher in NYC schools for many years, respected and recognized by students, peers, parents, and educators.  He came to realize though that schools too often function as limiting rather than beneficial influences on the children who attend…


Should School Be Boring? John Taylor Gatto Says No!

I taught for 30 years in some of the worst schools in New York City, and in some of the best, and during that time I became an expert in boredom. Boredom was everywhere in my world, and if you asked the kids, as I often did, why they felt so bored, they always gave the same answers: The work was stupid, it made no sense, they already knew it. They wanted to be doing something real, not just sitting around. Teachers didn’t seem to know much about their subjects and weren’t interested in learning more. And the kids were right: The teachers were every bit as bored as they were.

Boredom is the common condition of schoolteachers, and anyone who has spent time in a teachers’ lounge can vouch for the low energy, the whining, the dispirited attitudes found there. When asked why they’re bored, teachers tend to blame the kids. Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? If even that. Of course, teachers are themselves products of the same 12-year school programs that so thoroughly bore their students, and as school personnel, they’re trapped inside structures even more rigid than those imposed on the kids. Who, then, is to blame?


Active Learning! Is It the Way Children Learn Best?

* Italicized portions taken from Angela Oswalt’s MSW on Jean Piaget, January, 2008

“Seat learning” as it is sometimes called in mainstream schools may not be best for your child. It seems homeschooling parents have a head start on transforming their children’s education from a passive and often boring format to an active, lively, and relevant one. Interweaving schooling with life can be a recipe for success. Children do tend to resist lessons that are dry and abstract, but come to life, so to speak, when lessons engage their interest and curiosity.

* “Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget (1896-1990) created a cognitive-developmental stage theory that described how children’s ways of thinking develop as they interact with the world around them. Infants and young children understand the world much differently than adults do, and as they play and explore, their mind learns how to think in ways that better fit with reality. Piaget’s theory has four stages: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational.”