“The Little Prince,” a beloved children’s tale, has always sought to convey one message: as adults, we lose the ability to understand the world through a child’s eyes. Consequently, we fail to grasp the unique way in which children perceive the world.
Especially during the elementary school stage, there is a rush to witness a child’s academic performance, hoping to ensure their future competitiveness in society. This either alleviates our anxieties or boosts our vanity.
However, this approach not only squeezes out vital spaces for a child’s lifelong happiness but also often relies on misguided standards to determine which child or which aspect of a child’s abilities should be cultivated. As a result, crucial skills for the future are neglected while unnecessary details are excessively emphasized. Children who deserve nurturing are hurt, while those who are favored are misguided.
If we fail to redefine the purpose of learning and growth during elementary school from a broader perspective, all our efforts merely harm children. Unless we break free from the biases ingrained in the adult world, we will never discover the true essence of elementary education.
Elementary Education from the Perspective of Lifelong Learning
A colleague told me – anyway, junior high school, children will face a hellish life, as long as the primary school children happy! However,Primary school is the stage of cultivating children’s personality,neglect the cultivation of personality in primary school, and it will be too late when you grow up.
Therefore, we must take a long-term view of education and look back at the growth and educational goals of primary school.
From a university teacher’s point of view, I am both worried and disappointed about the best college students in China today, who seem to fall into a binary classification: either seriously reading textbooks, or playing games, social media platforms, etc., with nothing to do. Today’s students, in addition to what others want him to do, never think of what they want to do; In addition to the ability to cope with homework, it seems that other emotional abilities and personality connotations are seriously underdeveloped.
Many children have become “strawberry”:Looks bright red and lovely, just squeeze it and rot all over the place.And the so-called “top students,” knowledge and skills are far more developed than we were, and they will assemble computers by themselves in their teens, but their understanding and imagination of life are empty and terrible.
Sometimes I can not bear to see, want to guide them some view of life. The most “serious” student would say, “Teacher, I chose your class because it says’ control systems’ on the schedule.” If you want to talk about something else, maybe some other time. I think you do not teach classes, a little sorry want to learn students, but also sorry taxpayer money.”
Later, I simply went to the General Education Center to open a course on “Technology and Humanities,” only to those who wanted to learn.
Unexpectedly, many of the concepts and extracurricular books that I had already known in high school were very mysterious to them. To make matters worse, even though I fail nearly a third of my classes every semester, there are still people sleeping in electives.
I can only admit:People’s values have taken shape in high school.In college, they will only choose which words to listen to and which words not to listen to according to the existing value tendency. When you get to college, it’s too late to start thinking about life.
Someone who graduated from high school without a little enthusiasm, I have no ability to teach! A person who has no vision of life, what kind of ideals can you expect him to cultivate in college?
If a child has never liked anything when he graduated from junior high school, how can he develop the minimum enthusiasm and vision for life when he graduated from high school?
From this, I am forced to conclude that we must cultivate in the child before he finishes elementary school his feelings for man, animals, and nature, as well as a minimum of confidence in himself; Based on these feelings and self-confidence, he has the opportunity to further deepen his love of the world and the imagination of life through simple literary works such as poetry and prose in junior high school.
Only when the child’s inner feelings are more abundant, and the imagination of the world and life is more lively, He had the opportunity to develop a preliminary vision of life through the guidance of biography, fiction, historical stories and shallow philosophical articles in high school, and learned to think about his future along the mental course of his predecessors.
Not Allowing Children to Make Mistakes is a Form of Waste
Is a waste. In the past education tradition, primary education pays too much attention to the details of knowledge, and does not allow children to have the opportunity to make mistakes, which is a waste.
As far as the education of knowledge is concerned, the task of primary school should not be too heavy: writing Chinese characters, some simple calculations, and how many other subjects are learned are not much related. Arithmetic as long as the idea is right, careless calculation of the wrong problem after junior high school can be corrected. Occasionally write wrong and inappropriate characters, although the trouble, but there is no need to ask for a word.
My son cheated in the first monthly exam and copied the answers of his classmates. I asked him why. He said that the teacher wanted them to write carefully, and if they did, they should write it out, and if they didn’t, they should think carefully. He didn’t want the teacher to think he wasn’t serious and didn’t finish the exam, so he didn’t ask his classmates. We know he doesn’t even know what an “exam” is.
Adults are repeatedly “restricted” by social norms, and in the face of various rules, they always feel that there is only one possibility of understanding; But for the child, he does not understand all the norms, so he still has all the ways of understanding that we can not imagine.
The so-called “mistake,” sometimes is just that he has a different understanding of things with adults.It does not necessarily mean “weak,” nor does it mean “strong.”
Therefore, allow the child some room for error, as long as it does not become “arrogant,” he can be more comfortable in the process of interaction with adults to learn more broad knowledge; If you do not give him the space to make mistakes, he will either be too nervous and confused, or even excessive anxiety and degradation, or simply become passive and rigid.
I believe that the goal of primary education should not be set in the “knowledge learning effect,” such as how many words you know, how many problems you can calculate, etc., but should be set in the “process and method of acquiring knowledge, and the attitude towards knowledge.”
For example, how to cultivate children’s active willingness to read and the ability to overcome difficulties to find information and find answers by themselves is far more valuable than “memorizing and skilled knowledge.”
Many people only care about the simplification of primary school textbooks, homework easier. However,the purpose of reducing students’ homework burden should be to give them more opportunities and time for trial and error. Let them have the opportunity to explore some things that may interest them in the future beyond the rigid rules and expectations of adults, and let them gradually find a healthy attitude towards books and knowledge.
The ability to read books for a richer and more inner glory seriously affects the future development of children. Once you make a mistake at the starting point, the rest of your life will only magnify that mistake.
If we ignore these educational goals and only care about learning outcomes, or maintain the attitude that “he will be tortured by the joint entrance examination sooner or later, so as long as he is happy in primary school,” we are distorting them.
Learning is not the only purpose of primary education. At least as important, if not more important, is toDevelop their attitudes towards others and towards themselves.
If we care about the “personality education” in primary school, we must realize the difficulty of this goal, which cannot be achieved without the full support and cooperation of parents. If some parents insist that their children begin to exercise the ability to “trample others under their feet” at school, not only will the teacher be unable to discipline such students, but the classmates will also become targets for others to practice.
Affective education Let the child enjoy life
After talking about the learning of knowledge and the education of personality, for me, it is only two-thirds of primary education. The final theme is emotional education:Appreciation of nature, love of small animals, and the ability to express feelings or emotions through music, painting, and dance.
People live by a sense of meaning, which comes from people’s enthusiasm and ideals, without enthusiasm and ideals, can only use ambition to package his emptiness and fear.
If primary school students have never seen nature, do not experience the joy of solitude in nature, they will not be willing to be lonely, but will go to create their own happiness: games, television, shopping, comics, and then boring stimulation is good. Children are born with the ability to cultivate more subtle, quiet happiness from nature and small animals.
If we take them to the beach to see the sand crabs, there is not even any life, as long as there is a pile of sand and water, they can play like crazy all day and not want to go home.
If you grow up like this, you have to teach him that happiness doesn’t have to be bought with money. He can easily understand it.It is impossible for a child who has not had this kind of childhood experience to teach him “inexpensive happiness” – when it is clear that his whole life’s happiness has been bought with money.
Children are curious. Given proper guidance and opportunity, They might like it, maybe even get into it – take them to the mountains to play in the streams and see the buildings, maybe their hobbies when they grow up will be mountaineering, photography, local history or architecture, and maybe they will develop into their single-minded profession.
The more interested he is, the brighter, open and broad his future life will be.The book did not read well, the middle school also has time to remedy; When he graduated from primary school with boring hobbies, or no interest in anything, it was difficult to expect him to have enthusiasm later.
For the cultivation of various artistic interests or talents, it is best to start in elementary school. Children’s sense of sound must be trained before the age of six, otherwise the older the more difficult it is to cultivate. Many people put their children in talent classes without knowing why. When children’s interest in art really exceeds their interest in homework, they panic again, afraid that children’s homework is not as good as others.
For me, art is not a means of “inner beauty” or a symbol of social status.Art is important, first of all, because it is a useful tool that humans can use to express their emotions.Every time I see South American black people even singing hymns in church, their bodies will swing with the rhythm, I envy and sigh: since when do we become a group that can not express their inner feelings?
The most favorable environment for inspiring human emotions is nature, and art and literature. Nature has no words, but people who are careful to experience it can feel the joy and satisfaction that can stretch the whole soul in every corner of nature: in the warm air of spring, In the clear and transparent light of autumn, the attitude of Acacia Forest and Casuarina, the sun scattered from the forest, the west wind roaring through the forest, the stream facing the autumn mist, the summer afternoon with the cool breeze coming from the lotus and so on.
If we can cultivate the ability of the next generation to appreciate nature, they can get satisfaction in life, far more than mere money income.
Of course, it takes time to develop a person’s sensitivity to art, and there is no need to start from primary school. However, the earlier you start, always give the child a chance.
Early Education May Not Always
Benefit a Child's Development
I have always been bitter about “gifted education”: because it is a cruel punishment for gifted students!
If a child is smarter than his classmates and learns faster, doesn’t this give him an opportunity to easily cope with the basic requirements of institutional education, and more effort to explore the various fields of human spiritual activity and cultivate his own broader vision and mind?
But the reality is that it is unfortunate that these children will be “abducted” by parents and teachers to go to the best classes, bind him with more difficult courses, and the mind will be more tightly sealed in a particular narrow corner.
From the third grade, I inexplicably developed a set of graphic solutions to various simultaneous algebraic equations, which could easily explain the concepts and procedures of solving various word problems. So I began to take the place of a math teacher in the fifth grade.
Because I learned to study from a very young age, almost all the classes in junior high school are absent-minded. When I go home to watch TV and study, I can do a good job in the exam. However, I was never bored in class: the rainy day looked at the raindrops outside the window, the spring enjoyed the warmth sent in the window, and stole a Tang poem under the English textbook in autumn, so that the class was very comfortable.School work is usually done at school, and as soon as school is over, I go to the fields, streams, and beaches to enjoy the “poetry” of literary works.
In a time when there was no “gifted education,” many bright children developed broader horizons and interests than others.And I thought that was the best part.
However, the current gifted education is not based on a solid philosophy of education, and will only use people as a tool to absorb knowledge, or even as a tool for knowledge competition.
As a result, many gifted and talented students who have received “gifted remedial education” since childhood have been enrolled in the gifted and talented classes in many schools. I have written a lot of IQ and aptitude analysis test papers, solved a lot of physics and mathematics reference books, entered the experimental high school gifted class, and just read some textbooks simplified from college textbooks in advance.
Is it called “gifted” just to finish a few books earlier than others? Is this “special education” or remedial education within the system? Are graduates really more creative than others in physics and mathematics?
The child is closed in an extremely narrow field of knowledge, completely ignoring his complete personality growth, and even allowing him to sacrifice peer relationships, so that the development of personality and emotions along the way is extremely naive and immature.Can this be said to be good for the recipient?
Adults learn to see the world from a child's perspective.
The pupils are so difficult to teach that they cannot simply be “ignorant.” Sometimes, children cannot “behave” because adults have lost too many possibilities in the process of social conditioning, while children still retain these valuable possibilities.
For example, as long as we pick up a paintbrush, we will only think of painting a “very beautiful” or “very realistic” picture, and few people will want to paint their own inner most true or “not to say” feelings, so the things painted are often emotionless and rigid.
However,Because the child has not yet been conditioned, he has no fixed idea of what “painting” means. He tends to draw the part of the object that impresses him most, and ignores other details that have not caused him any feeling.
Therefore, when he likes the way his mother looks at him, he may draw big eyes and ignore the nose and ears. As far as the concept of artistic creation is concerned, painting is not a “realistic” painting of an object that you do not feel, but a painting of your “feeling” about it. Therefore, ignoring the details that do not feel is in line with the “sincerity” of painting.
Because the child’s innocence has long forgotten the valuable emotions and instincts of adults, so the German abstract painter Paul Klee paid special attention to drawing inspiration from children’s paintings.
Adults often look at the world of children with an over-socialized perspective, thus ignoring the valuable aspects of children.The child’s performance in learning sometimes reflects not his talent, but his acceptance of social constraints and the speed of giving up non-social instincts.
Generally speaking, children who perform well in school are usually talented, but part of this is because they don’t have unique persistence and creativity. Slow learners tend to be less talented, but some of them are particularly creative and think more flexibly than adults, making it difficult to get used to a rigid system where everything is fixed.
Therefore, when we guide children into the process of adult society, we must pay attention to two things:
First, don’t lightly intercept ideas other than their rules in the process of guiding children into adult society.
The second is not to judge children’s stupidity, wisdom, good, bad, or for them to decide whether they have enough talent in the future to develop in a certain direction.
My son’s junior high school counselor confidently used intelligence tests, aptitude tests, and written tests since elementary school to tell me: “Your son’s talent in math is very poor, and he is destined to be mediocre in the future.”
However, she completely ignored the fact that my son had no tutor, no tuition, no reference books, completely self-study, and lack of proficiency in calculation.
When the third day, I want my son to sort out the junior high school mathematics chapter by chapter to me, and I ask questions until he can explain clearly and rigorously. After half a year’s training, he did quite well in math in the high school joint college entranceexamination and won by math in the joint college entrance examination.
A child is an organic being without social conditioning who experiences the world in ways we cannot fully understand. In his own way to accept the stimulation of the outside world and respond to the outside world, he has his own growth rhythm and order that varies from person to person, which is absolutely not what we can accurately anticipate and strictly regulate.
Therefore,There is no way to test the effectiveness of education or a child’s learning and ability with the quality control procedures of industrial production.In the face of the child, we can only give him all possible educational opportunities without subjectively deciding who has hope and who does not.
Education is not writing computer programs or training dogs. We should not expect our children to accept all our requests in minute detail, nor should we expect them to be at our pace all the time.
Many parents bring the rigid mentality of “investment cost-benefit analysis” in their careers to family education, which is also used to force school teachers to go back to the old way of further education. I often hear people who think they are elites talk about their own children in this way: “the second in our family is smarter than the eldest, and the old university is slower than anything. In the future, we can barely graduate from college. Second, we are very confident that we can study anything in the future.”
When I hear this argument, I always mourn for their children. The boss will always feel the parents’ expectations of his brother, tell a child to live under this sentence, how can he feel? In fact, in my eyes, that second only more elves and can please good people, will concentrate on the results in exchange for parents’ love, but can not see more talent or thoughtful appearance.
It is the eldest brother, a sense of responsibility, very caring students, strong independence, and not stupid, I even think the eldest brother more thoughtful, more opportunities to develop their own care of knowledge.
There is no way to assess a child’s future creativity in the arts, humanities, and social sciences, or even his future ability to make a living in politics, economics, management, and interpersonal communication, using existing learning assessment criteria. In the face of such an education evaluation system, how can we judge the future achievements of children from their achievements? Who decides who is worth cultivating?
Every child has their own difficulties in the process of learning, sometimes ahead and sometimes behind. Competent parents and teachers do not necessarily have rich knowledge of English, mathematics and science, but they should have full love for children. Love is not indulgence, but acceptance of every child, care for him, willing to understand the child’s individual temperament and characteristics.
Most adults forget what they were like when they were children, and only urgently ask children to accommodate themselves to the order of their lives, regardless of the fact that in the process they may sacrifice their valuable instincts and innocent gifts or distort their personalities.
So, a good parent is willing to see the world from a child’s point of view,Then it is possible to carefully observe children’s naive feelings and keen feelings of people’s attitudes for life, and then give children a humanized growth space, so that he can be a natural pupil.