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Train them from a young age to have a unidirectional mind.

Bruner's primary concern was that children are being pressed to do too much too soon. The negative effects of early academic work are several fold, he stated. Young children are too often asked to do things for which they are developmentally unready. This leads to frustration, stress and a potential aversion to learning. More debilitating, the early introduction of so-called academic work has a conditioning effect, perhaps unintended, but very powerful. Gradually, children in what we now call "high stakes" learning situations, whether at school or home, are conditioned to see learning as, and only as, the process of delivering the "correct" response to the powerful adult in whose presence they find themselves.

Children like to please parents and teachers. If extrinsic and intrinsic rewards are conditioned on giving "right" answers, children will indeed work hard to figure out what the adult will accept as the "right" answer. The process is self-perpetuating as the rewards are compounded over time. When strongly conditioned to see learning this way, qualities like imagination, skepticism, eccentricity, originality, invention and creativity will be extinguished. These are unreliable mechanisms for discerning "right" answers.

by Upstate NY on Fri Jul 1st, 2011 at 12:24:16 PM EST
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