The freedom of choice and communication in a Sudbury school allows students to build their own libraries of experiences. It allows them to form and modify and play with their own visions of how the world works and how to adapt to it. It allows them to be exposed to each others' visions about the world and how it works. Freedom allows them to develop their full human potential. With the speed of change and the adaptability required of man in the modern era, it is more obvious than ever that our children must be left free to explore, play and adapt.
Scott David Gray
reposted from Sudbury Valley School Featured Essays
"Sherlock Holmes Was Wrong"
Reposted from PsychologyToday.com/Evolutionary Psychology
If you have gotten a good handle on the evolutionary perspective applied to humanity, you can start to examine any and all aspects of the human condition from this angle – often leading to novel, totally out-of-the-box ideas on important aspects of who we are. One of the greatest scholars in the field of evolutionary psychology, who also happens to be a prolific Psychology Today blogger, Peter Gray, has taken this approach and applied it to the all-important field of education – with extremely provocative results.
Gray’s basic approach, which fits quite well with the theme of this blog series (Evolutionary Psychology and the Human Condition), rests on the idea of evolutionary mismatch. In questioning the nature of modern educational systems, Gray posed the following question: Is our modern, Westernized educational system similar to how education transpires in non-Westernized societies, which are our best models for what all ancestral, pre-agrarian human societies were like? In other words, do our modern educational structures match – or mis-match – traditional educational structures? And if there is a mis-match, what is the nature of it?
To get a full sense of this area of evolutionary educational psychology, you really should read Gray’s work directly! In short, he finds that modern educational structures mis-match traditional educational structures in many systematic, consistent, and significant ways. For instance, in examinations of traditional educational structures found across varied non-Westernized societies, Gray found that in traditional societies:
We are, after all, products of biological evolutionary forces shaped by selective pressures that existed in very specific environmental conditions - conditions that, in many ways, have little bearing on what your world may be like today. Perhaps this point can shed significant light on how we educate our young.
This blog entry is part of a series of blogs titled Evolutionary Psychology and the Human Condition.
References and Further Reading
Geher, G. (2014). Evolutionary Psychology 101. New York: Springer.
Gray, P. (2011). Free to Learn. New York: Basic Books
Liam Marshall-Butler is currently a student at MLSS.