What is the reason why schooling should be based on social experiences?

Written Sep 2, 2016

Man is a social animal

I suppose if there was a good evolutionary reason for man to exist in isolation, we would have evolved as hermit-like, hermaphroditic creatures. Clearly, that is not the case – we are extremely social. For thousands of years, children in tribal societies learned by playing with other children, and by observing their peers.

Academic learning

While it is possible to learn solely by reading or viewing or practicing (or possibly learning from a tutor), this misses several essential advantages provided by social experiences:

  • everyday play or interaction with other children is essential to learn how to interact with others and handle various situations such as conflict or negotiation
  • discussion (Socratic method) is an excellent method for learning and developing logic and persuasion skills.
  • most importantly … it is essential to explore other people’s worldview, and to learn how to “walk in other people’s shoes”. Discussion groups, mentors, variety of teachers and professors are necessary.
  • Feedback … even if you are an amazing musician (or artist, etc.), interaction with others provides the feedback necessary to improve and understand your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Competition … can drive you to excel

One of the biggest concerns I have with homeschooling our daughter is that she is currently only gaining my perspective in learning. Fortunately, she takes several classes with other teachers, which helps. However, I hope that she will develop mentors who will expose her to other approaches and philosophies of learning.