I think that school’s terrible. It’s not a great fit for human nature. Some people like to sit in a chair, and be talked at for a long time, and then go off and read a lot, and so forth. But, we, generally, are not creating a very curious, fun, even intellectually-engaging place for young people.Angela Duckworth, No Stupid Questions
There is something refreshing about hearing your own views repeated outside of your own circle, especially when they are university professors and have a pretty good amount of personal insight of the type of students our elementary and high schools turn out (as well as research into this topic more broadly).
I think that Angela Duckworth is hitting at something Charlotte Mason says is a requirement for a solid theory of education: that “It must be adequate, covering the whole nature of man and his relations with all that is other than himself.” (School Education, p. 46). Too often, school is not a great fit for human nature because it doesn’t recognize that people are not just thinking, rational beings. They have bodies, they have hearts, and a system that allows any child (even the ones who like it) to sit in a chair and be talked at for most of the day is simply inadequate.
I don’t think that her proposed solution of project based learning is terribly compelling, in part because I agree with Miss Mason that each subject has a way of being taught that is living, and I don’t think that requires projects and ‘real life application’. Some subjects I suspect would be shoehorned in – mostly math, which needs to be taught in a way that is logical and ordered. I do like the implication of masterly inactivity and that children need to do the work of learning themselves, though. That really is an issue with modern education.