When autonomy becomes the aim of education, educators will attempt to increase the areas of overlap between the area of overlap between the two circles.
In Chapter 2 of Number in Preschool & Kindergarten, Kamii lays out one of the most basic principles of Piagetian theory. According to Piaget, the goal of education must be to develop the child’s autonomy, the ability to self-govern. Because schools rely heavily on the use of rewards and punishments (grades, stickers, teacher approval, time-outs, etc.) children spend the vast majority of their time in these structured learning environments governed by others – heteronomy.
She goes on to elaborate that it should not be the goal of education to simply create obedient children, as obedience is about a fear of consequences rather than an internal gauge of right and wrong. When we apply this to learning, children who learn in order to please others or because they are afraid of the negative consequences of not doing what they are told, most often, cannot think for themselves.
What do you think of that?
Next week, I will finish exploring Chapter 2 “Objectives for Teaching Number” where Kamii discusses the difference between the “construction of number” and the “quantification of number”. I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am.