Freedom to Learn


Full recording (voice, text conversation).


All Math 2.0 events are free and open to the public. Information about all events in the series is here:

Wednesday, June 9th 2010 we will meet in the LearnCentral public Elluminate room at 6:30pm Pacific / 9:30pm Eastern time:

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About Freedom to Learn

Freedom to Learn, a "Psychology Today" blog, explores the roles of play and curiosity as foundations for learning. During the event, we will talk about topics of two widely discussed blog posts, as well as Peter Gray's research on Sudbury

When Less is More: The Case for Teaching Less Math in Schools
Quote: "In 1929, the superintendent of schools in Ithaca, New York, sent out a challenge to his colleagues in other cities. "What," he asked, "can we drop from the elementary school curriculum?" He complained that over the years new subjects were continuously being added and nothing was being subtracted, with the result that the school day was packed with too many subjects and there was little time to reflect seriously on anything. This was back in the days when people believed that children shouldn't have to spend all of their time at school work--that they needed some time to play, to do chores at home, and to be with their families--so there was reason back then to believe that whenever something new is added to the curriculum something else should be dropped.One of the recipients of this challenge was L. P. Benezet, superintendent of schools in Manchester, New Hampshire, who responded with this outrageous proposal: We should drop arithmetic!"

Kids Learn Math Easily When They Control Their Own Learning
Quote: "The best evidence I know that math is not hard comes from the experiences of people involved in the unschooling movement and the Sudbury "nonschool" school movement. I have written about these movements in previous posts. Unschoolers are homeschooling families that do not provide a curriculum for their kids or evaluate their learning in any formal way. Sudbury schools are those that are modeled after the Sudbury Valley School, where kids of all ages are free all day to interact with whomever they choose and pursue their own interests. Unschoolers and Sudbury schoolers defy our cultural beliefs about what kids must do to succeed in our society. All available evidence shows that the kids in these settings grow up to become happy, productive, ethical members of the larger society, who continue to take charge of their own lives and learning throughout adulthood (for references to research on Sudbury Valley graduates, see my post of Aug. 13, 2008)."

Event Host

peter_gray.jpg Peter Gray is a research professor of psychology at Boston College. He has conducted and published research in comparative, evolutionary, developmental, and educational psychology; published articles on innovative teaching methods and alternative approaches to education; and is author of Psychology (Worth Publishers), an introductory college textbook now in its 6th edition. He did his undergraduate study at Columbia University and earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences at Rockefeller University. His current writing focuses primarily on the life-long value of play. His own play includes not only his research and writing, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, and back-woods skiing.