4th December 2017
What would happen in a school that I own and run? It will produce the world’s greatest geniuses – no matter what the “calibre” of children you give me.
The main thing that I remember of my upbringing is a book called Living Biographies of Great Philosophers by Henry Thomas and Dana Lee Thomas – which was lying around in my house.
And from that book, the main thing I remember is its comments on Socrates and Voltaire.
I had always loved science, but this ratification of my inquisitiveness is all it took to make me perpetually inquisitive and interested in everything around me.
Later I discovered that Buddha had said pretty much what Socrates had said (see DOF). And that India had its own highly developed schools of sceptical thought. Then I discovered that the CORE of Western thought came to it from India. Without India the West would be a mere tribal killing house.
EVERYTHING great in this world began from India – from the Charvakas and other related schools.
And now, I find that Richard Feynman has been saying pretty much the same thing as Socrates and Voltaire, but in an even more simple and direct way (of course, Richard is now long dead, this is a memorial twitter account). He’s is probably the best critical thinking teacher the world.
Unfortunately, Indians have long forgotten how to think. They have taken too much for granted.
It is time for them to start thinking again.
So, what would happen in a school that I run?
First and foremost, I’d teach students to think. We want critical thinking first. Then liberty. Then “knowledge”.
Every day, children come up with tens of questions. I’ll ensure that at least 2 hours are set aside each day ONLY for questions. Primary school should be 90 per cent about asking questions, 10 per cent about other things.
Long classes should be held in which students ask questions. The whole class should be only devoted to asking questions.
Questions should range about everything: about society, about biology, about physics, about economics, about religion, about the nature of “god”.
We will grade the children on the quality of their questions, not on the quality of their answers.
When all the questions are compiled in these first five years of school, the rest of the 8 years should then be all about answering as many of these questions as possible, using known “knowledge”.
ONLY questions asked by the students should be attempted to be answered. We should not use “standardised” text books. We should let students explore the whole world and find their own answers.
The second thing is to make it possible for children to recognise the miracle of the price system and property rights. This is something for which I’m trying to write (in my spare time) a book on economics for children.
Finally, knowledge. Yes, we must teach the children basic skills like language (particularly English) and maths. But most knowledge must be tailored to the questions the children ask.
Will we find the teachers to do such a thing?
I suspect not.
Most teachers have no respect for questions and no capacity to say that they don’t know the answers. They are also deeply ignorant about the price system and property rights. I’ll first need to teach the teachers all this, and only then can we begin our school.
I will, of course, ONLY run for-profit schools. I do not want nor care for any government subsidy. We will produce the results that parents will die for. They will pay an arm and a leg to get admission into my school. Because we will create geniuses and revolutionaries. Citizens. Something unheard of among schools today.