Friday, 16 October 2015

I got another "rejection slip"

in the "mail" this morning. At least I got one this time and at least they didn't waste paper sending it to me. It came via e-mail. 
I have other people who keep telling me to keep on trying. Sigh.  There are times when I simply want to slink off into the undergrowth and give up. I suppose I had better get the book out and try again. As one person put it, "the only foolish thing is not trying". Perhaps.
But I also note in this morning's paper that there is someone telling us that children need to be taught to be more creative and the Education Minister is telling us we need to read to children - if we have them. In my case it means that if there is a child around who looks a likely victim I will read to them. It is the reason I collect books.
I agree children need to be more creative and they need to be read to. They also need the time to be creative and they need to read for themselves.
I educated myself by reading. I did not learn a lot in school - or not in lessons. In my final year at school I discovered there was a history subject I had not, until then, studied. It was not taught in the school I attended. I read the text book and some more historical novels. I sat the exam. I passed. I can't honestly say I did a lot of work for the subject. I merely informed the teacher filling out the examination entry form for me that I wanted to try. Interestingly she did not argue with me. 
I sometimes wonder what would happen if we taught children to read and then left them to educate themselves. Imagine, if you will, an enormous library crammed to the hilt with books and children - and not a computer screen in sight. Imagine another enormous area filled with a vast store of craft materials and creative kids. Have just enough adults around to prevent chaos but not interfere and leave them to it. 
It wouldn't work of course. There is "no time" for such experiments. Children have to be crammed with coding and maths and science and social issues and languages which will allow the country to "do business" with their region. Out of school they have to be on the winning sports team, learn dance or judo or a musical instrument and to speak in public. There is "no time" to read. Is it any wonder that it is increasingly difficult to get a book for children published?
Not all children want to read the way I did anyway.There are some though and they would probably learn far more if they were permitted to get on with it for themselves. We should have the courage to say to them.
"Go away and read."

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