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Sep 2010

Questioning standards. Don’t ask me why, ask me why not?

Occasionally I have a deep and meaningful thought (my wife often suggests that miracles do indeed happen … every so often) and it really did get me wondering about what and how we teach our children.

I love to play the guitar and on the anniversary of Jimi Hendrix death this question got me thinking.

Why is Jimi generally held in such high regard (not that I am qualified to ask that question)?

Imagine you teach guitar and a kid walks in that is playing a left-handed guitar upside down. Most guitar players have picked up bad habits that the teacher will want to get rid of and sort out before moving on to bigger and better things. But this was one of the things that Jimi was renown for, and that many will suggest gave him his unique sound.

So what do you say to this kid? Go for it buddy it will all work out – or would you as his teacher say “listen buddy if you want to get better, first thing you have to do is play the guitar as it is supposed to be played – the right way up?

Remembering that Jimi had a sound that was unique, could it be that he was great because he never learned properly – and that he was better off finding his own way?

Are we suggesting that if Jimi had gone to guitar lessons, a qualified teacher could have accidentally, but quite easily destroyed a rare talent?

Or are we saying that it is all in our own heads? In other words, could we be teaching our children what we perceive to be correct or incorrect, and in this situation, are our own shortcomings (and we all have them – me in particular) guiding and dictating what and how our children learn?

Now to avoid any misunderstandings here, I am NOT talking about any spiritual or moral belief. I am simply talking about the way in which we allow our children to learn.

I guess when I apply this to what we are doing here at Zane Education, providing online subtitled educational video, we are endorsing the fact that subtitled video enables a child to absorb and process information in the way that suits their individual requirements best. They have the choice of being able to watch the presentation of each topic, to read it or to listen to it.

I guess that Jimi became one of the best because he had fortuitously been given that choice. As I understand it, he was entirely self-taught. I am not suggesting anything negative about teachers or being taught, but it certainly does say a lot about the benefit of giving the child the opportunity to make choices.

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