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Changing Our Minds: How children can take control of their own learning

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I’d love to love this book but the absolutely uninformed bull snot of this chapter has delegitimized the rest of the book for me. Changing Our Minds explains the why and the how children learn and the why and the how our current school system needs desperate change. Clear and logical points based on scientific evidence and psychological understanding that makes complete sense to me both rationally and intuitively. From this platform Dr Fisher advances the meaning of self-directed education as a fulfilment not just of the individual but also of society and an answer to the question of who we want to be. As my children grew, they attended a sports group and it was the first time that they did anything without me.

We are socialised to believe that schooling is synonymous with education, but it’s only one approach.Some of the data that are collected include the number of visitors, their source, and the pages they visit anonymously. It reassures that in most cases the problem lies not with their child but with the controlling, coercive, competitive, test-driven, anxiety inducing experience of school. After months of CAMHS, private therapists, psychiatrists, all manner of services, being very little help and shedding very little insight into what is eating my daughter and how to help her when she can’t articulate what is going on for her, this book is a complete game changer. Helpful to have been reminded of intrinstic motivation and the essential root problem that school turns us toward extrinsic motivation. Naomi expertly guides you through the wide world of learning, motivation, child behaviour, parenting culture, alternative schools and home education.

In the process, Dr Fisher asks us to reconsider our fundamental assumptions and views about how learning takes place, advocating for a more student-centred and strengths-based approach to education. I was just amazed at how much sense it makes and how differently we should be embracing the education of our children, especially those who are neurodiverse. It’s not uncommon for someone to choose a job where they have few choices and no control, in the belief that this will be less stressful. It has reached more people than I ever imagined when I was tapping away at the keyboard late at night or wrestling with the ideas in the swimming pool. Fisher sets out, accessibly but with academic authenticity, the science that explains the inhibiting effect of many school regimes on the natural desire of children to learn.When I worked for Druckers, I could have been allowed to choose when I went on my break, or the speed I thought that the profiterole machine should be set at. Change is necessary and urgent - schooling is not fit for purpose and there are working exemplars of another way. I jotted down notes on my phone when an idea came to me, and wrote little pieces about seeing my children’s learning in action because I knew that otherwise I would forget. The conveyor belts went faster and faster in my dreams, with me running desperately behind, trying to get the mandarin oranges perfectly straight.

Children can - and do - take charge of their own learning and, with the right adult support, experience real education as opposed to narrow, test-driven schooling.I discovered that actually a rejection letter was a good outcome, because a lot of the time I got no response at all.

I read the books which claimed that the problem in education today is that we don’t teach children enough facts, and the books which argue that children just need to be kept under control better. As each tart went past, I would carefully place three segments, and then it would pass on to Sara, who was doing the kiwi pieces.To be honest, I downloaded this one because it was the only one available on Audible and I thought I’d give it a go. With its easy-going approach, everyday language and homely examples it will surprise many a reader how deeply we are asked to question the current orthodoxies of education and confront the accepted canons of modern childhood.

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