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The Value Of Unstructured Learning

"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant, aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wrack and ruin without fail. It is a grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty."

- Albert Einstein



Here is a reminiscence that is also a warning. As children, we grew up learning how to make many types of paper planes (ordinary/ fast/ rocket etc.), boats (ordinary/ with a sail/ catamaran etc.), whistles from leaves or paper, string telephones with empty cans, rubber band powered rolling toys, a jumping mouse from a handkerchief, a boat cut out of a plastic tongue cleaner with a blob of soap at the notch behind etc. I can go on adding to this list.





Nobody formally taught us any of this but every child knew many such tricks. This was probably because there was a lot of unstructured free time to play, explore, talk to other children and adults, read, get bored, etc. This has now become replaced by the idea that learning is all academic and structured and there is no space for children or adults to discover such things. I feel that we need to get these free spaces back or Self-Learning, which I think thrives on these spaces, will probably not work.

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