How Early Academic Training Retards Intellectual Development | Psychology Today:
Now, here’s the point to which I’m leading. It is generally a waste of time, and often harmful, to teach academic skills to children who have not yet developed the requisite motivational and intellectual foundations. Children who haven’t acquired a reason to read or a sense of its value will have little motivation to learn the academic skills associated with reading and little understanding of those skills. Similarly, children who haven’t acquired an understanding of numbers and how they are useful may learn the procedure for, say, addition, but that procedure will have little or no meaning to them.
What a finding! Benezet showed that five years of tedious (and for some, painful) drill could simply be dropped, and by dropping it the children did better, in sixth grade, than did those who had endured the drill for five previous years. This is the kind of finding that educators regularly choose to ignore. If they paid attention to such findings they would do themselves out of their jobs, because the truth is, what Benezet found for math can occur for every subject. Young people learn amazingly rapidly, and require little help, when they learn what they want to learn, in their own ways, on their own time.
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