I think value judgements about a child’s learning are no different from any other value judgements. Therefore, tolerance for diversity is important, even if it happens to be children’s judgements with which you disagree. That is very challenging for adults because of: 1) lack of empathy from the adult brain (which @Woz mentioned previously), and 2) a sense of superiority.
Lack of empathy may be inherent due to the changes that occur in all brains as they mature. However, the sense of superiority is more remediable. Views on natural superiority have changed with respect to slavery, women’s rights, indigenous people, people of darker skin colour, etc.
In this specific case, we know that children adapt to whatever world they are born into. The same child born in ancient Greece or modern China will live as a native to its surrounds. In today’s rapidly changing society, each generation is largely born into a different world. It makes sense that children could adapt more effectively themselves than if we taught them from our obsolete views.
While the context can look scarily different to an adult, the human experience is largely the same. As Peter Gray says about online multiplayer games: “Making friends within the game requires essentially the same skills as making friends in the real world. You can’t be rude. You have to understand the etiquette of the culture you are in and abide by that etiquette. You have to learn about the goals of a potential friend and help that individual to achieve those goals.”
Dismissal of video games misses the fact that they can be the most efficient way to learn what adults want their kids to learn: literacy, numeracy, social skills, decision making, problem solving, etc.
What I would really like is to avoid putting the cart before the horse. This thread about the “learn drive” was born from our agreement that there is a natural instinct or drive to learn. I suggest we explore that in much more depth by looking at examples of what drives “natural learning” in the absence of planned instruction.
For example, I gave two examples earlier of people I know who learned maths very easily out of a real-life need, even after they developing toxic memories of math at school. You also gave a great example of learning Spanish of your own accord. I think those examples, and discussions around them, can provide the basis for agreement about the internal forces that truly drive learning, because there is no confounding effect of deliberate planning by some authority.
Once we reach more agreement about how and why such learning occurs, we can begin to discuss how to accelerate that natural learning through interventions like:
- external planning by some authority
- limiting screen time
- driving kids away from video games and towards books
- promoting family values
- coercing children under special circumstances
Until we agree (more) on what the learn drive is, we will find it difficult to agree on whether or not those interventions help or hinder it.