Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 6

I think that this is my favorite chapter out of this book thus far!  In Chapter 6, Papert discusses different learning stories to show how students learn differently.  When he told the story about Kitchen Math and fractions, the first thing that popped into my head was the faces of students when they hear the word fractions.  I haven’t talked to a single middle school student who can honestly tell me they like fractions.  Fractions are pretty much the devil incarnate.  Could this mentality be because we have followed the tradition of how School wants us to teach?   In cooking, some of the measurements used to make a cake may come as second nature instead of trying to solve the same computations on paper.  So, how do we try to emulate this type of informal learning in all aspects of our teaching to where we can create more learning experiences similar to Kitchen Math?

One of the more interesting parts of this chapter was the end where he associated Dirty Dancing and learning.  He refers to two types of learning as “clean” and “dirty”.  The “clean” type of learning is where there is a formal procedure where the teacher leads and the class follows.  The “dirty” type of learning is where the students are learning in an informal manner and become immersed in the content.

It seems that there is theme of breaking the traditions of School in terms of learning and creating a new learning environment for kids.  How do we break the chains of School and reinvent learning for our students?

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One Response to “Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 6”

  1. I liked this chapter quite a bit, too…probably because of all the concrete examples that he gave about different type of learners and learning situations. I supposed they help us to think in the abstract about different situations that might arise in our careers. I look forward to a time when I have good stories like this to tell. There are probably a few that I have already missed in my rush to find a way to teach everything that I think I need to in one day.


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