Learning Is fun. Don’t Force it. You’re Ruining It.

Posted on April 8, 2014


We all know this. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, if you’re being forced to do it it will be less enjoyable.

Best case scenario? You may still enjoy it, but you’ll be a little confused about whether you’re doing it for yourself or for someone else. That alone can be a significant distraction.

When you’re doing it for yourself you’re more likely to really get in to it; to lose track of time and look at it from every angle.

If you’re doing it for someone else, even if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to do the least amount required, to focus on satisfying the requirements set by someone else, rather than really digging in to it. We’ve all had that experience in school.

You can make the claim that kids don’t know what’s best for them so we need to force it on them. That they’ll appreciate this in the future. There is some truth to this statement (I won’t let my two year old reach her hand in to a fire no matter what), but you have to admit, based on your own experiences in the world when you are forced to do something against your will, that we are complicating, if not ruining, the joy of learning for millions of students every day.

I don’t think there’s any way to escape that conclusion. Maybe it’s not that important. Maybe it’s more important that students learn the Common Core instead of enjoying learning about what ever interests them. I think we should at the very least admit that forced learning is a serious negative. It may be one that is outweighed by other positives, but a serious negative nonetheless.