Apr 13

Gever Tulley, the co-founder of Tinkering School, speaks about how children need to do dangerous things to learn. Despite the many hazards written on labels and laws against many things, Tulley insists that children experience things that only adults can be accepted doing. These dangerous things include playing with fire, throwing a spear, holding a knife, and even driving a car. He claims that things like these help children learn skills and build knowledge that no other way can. Essentially, Tulley claims that experience is the best way to learn.

I fully agree with Tulley’s point of view. In this sheltered world we have created for children, they never get a chance to experience things that people of another era have. Now, adults prohibit children from doing many things to avoid injury at all costs. Although prevention of serious injury is a good thing, children should still be able to experience getting scraped or bruised–it’s a part of childhood. Everyone more or less learns from their mistakes. If children get hurt because they ran where they weren’t supposed to, they would learn not to run there instead of having their parents restrict them and having them not know why they are being restricted. As children, we all scraped a knee because we ran around so much, or we got bruised because we played too rough. Now, parents try to prevent their children from playing with things, experimenting, and having them find out right and wrong through tinkering. I believe that it is okay to have your kids play with fire, because it subconsciously teaches them not to get the fire too big, or that if you fan it, it will get bigger. Many people say seeing is believing, and I agree with that. If someone told you that you shouldn’t mix Mentos and Coke, would you believe them ? Of course not. You would see for yourself. This is the mentality of children, as well as adults; and we should not hinder one’s curiosity by telling him/her that they shouldn’t do it just because it’s a bit risky.

Learning things through trial and error is actually very effective. I would assume when one learns how to drive, that they would make mistakes the first time then make a mental note not to do it again when the situation arises. A child’s mind works the same way. If something negative happens, they know not to do it again. If they press the wrong button on a key board, they now know what that certain key does instead of going through life never knowing what the “alt” button does. We do not acquire such knowledge by reading a book or watching an educational video 100% of the time. Experiencing things are better because when we see how things really happen in real life, understanding it can possibly be much easier. In Chemistry, teachers perform experiments. By watching a reaction, students figure out that mixing two things could be very reactive and blow up the place or it could just not react at all. It is hard to be sheltered if you are trying to acquire knowledge for experience is the real key to learning.

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