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Jessica
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Early Chapters: Einstein's Childhood

Discuss Einstein's education, rebelliousness, and possible learning disabilities. He hated rote learning, thought in pictures, and some think he was autistic. What lessons are there from his upbringing? How can we produce smart, innovative kids?


Reply to this message to discuss any of these topics. Or start your own new topic by clicking "New Message."

Note: This discussion refers to topics through Chapter 9. Some readers of this thread may not have finished the book. If you are referring to events that occur after Chapter 9, please use "Spoiler Warning" in the subject line of your post. Thanks!

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hasenbein
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Re: Early Chapters: Einstein's Childhood

I felt so drawn to Einstein's frustration with rote learning. I went to a parochial grammar school (Lutheran) and we had to memorize scripture and were graded on that memorization. To this day I can't memorize scripture. It was tied to nothing so there was no "purpose." I memorize music just fine, so I know it's more of an emotional thing. I didn't pledge a sorority in college, partly because of the purposelessness of learning the Greek alphabet.

I'm also glad that today many educators use different methods to teach different students. We all learn differently.

KathyH
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Jessica
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Re: Early Chapters: Einstein's Childhood


hasenbein wrote: I felt so drawn to Einstein's frustration with rote learning. I went to a parochial grammar school (Lutheran) and we had to memorize scripture and were graded on that memorization. To this day I can't memorize scripture. It was tied to nothing so there was no "purpose." I memorize music just fine, so I know it's more of an emotional thing. I didn't pledge a sorority in college, partly because of the purposelessness of learning the Greek alphabet. I'm also glad that today many educators use different methods to teach different students. We all learn dfferently. KathyH


Hi Kathy,

I loved this chapter on Einstein's childhood, and like you, was drawn to his learning style. I also thought a lot about my early childhood education when reading this part of the book. I started in Montessori school when I was 3, which emphasized much of what Einstein (I now like to think) would have approved of: children making independent discoveries and sharing them with a group of peers, creating order among themselves, learning abstract ideas from experience... Not that it's for everyone, but it really clicked with me -- I was reading whole picture books before I was 4. (And now, books are my life. Go figure!)

Then in high school I failed one semester of sophomore English because I wasn't into reading the assigned books for class. That was the year I discovered Kerouac, Thompson, etc, and I flung myself into an entirely new (and definitely not board-of-education-approved) genre. I learned a lot on my own, but failed one of my classes nonetheless. When I tried to explain to my parents why the books I was reading were more "important" (ah, those stubborn teenage opinions!), they weren't convinced :smileywink:. So eventually, I did have to reach a balance between freeform learning and structured...

What about everyone else? Do you have any stories about your early childhood education, and how it may have affected your life?

And what do you think about Einstein's decision to leave school (and therefore Germany) at age 15 to study on his own until he could get into a technical school in Zurich? Personally, I think it took a lot of courage to take control of his education with such defiance. (Obviously, he had his future in his sights!)

Jessica
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hasenbein
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Re: Early Chapters: Einstein's Childhood

Jessica,

My niece began in a Montessori school and was reading far about her age level. She transferred to a public school, which put her in 1st grade for 4 days because of her age, but the teacher told the school she needed to be in 2nd. Her vocabulary for the previous year had included words like irruption (which my brother had to look up) and in 2nd grade included words like noun. Her social skills are being helped in a neighborhood setting school, and the school and her parents are giving her added/accelerated work in subjects where she excels.

Yes, I think Einstein would love the Montessori method. My experience with education was more of needing teachers to be more interested in my work. When they were, when I could excitedly share some idea or something new I'd learned and they would become excited, I accomplished amazing things. I went to a large university and think I would have done better at a smaller one.

Two years ago I started sending my niece, 4 young cousins (children of), and the 2 children of close friends $25 gift cards to Barnes and Noble. They ALL love the idea of getting to select their own books!

KathyH
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Re: Early Chapters: Einstein's Childhood

[ Edited ]

Jessica wrote:What about everyone else? Do you have any stories about your early childhood education, and how it may have affected your life?



I liked when grown ups in our family read aloud to me every evening before sleep. But I do not have much good to say about school. I wonder if I ever learned anything important beyond the ability to read and write. The way they taught us mathematics i.e. was terrible. I never understood the principles (except the very basics). My best friend was equally hopeless at it but then one day her father managed to explain something to her that clicked and after that moment she became very good at math and sailed through easily. I was never lucky to discover the connections and when I look back, I wonder how I ever got through school. It was like learning for the teachers, not for myself. As an adult I like learning, that will never stop as long as I live, so much to discover! I think Carl Rogers ideas about learning are very useful. I also find that a group which is on a right level helps the individual to learn.It is stimulating but it also needs to be a little challenging. Not too much and not too little, that balance is very important. So both a group and the individual studies count. Learning has to be fun, in my case school was boring with the exception of art class where we were allowed to be ourselves even if certain results were required, it wasn't just a free time and fooloing around, but there was enough space for individuality and experiments. I learned most in those classes 6th-7th grade.

To choose at 15 yo is strong, methinks. I also got ideas about what I wanted to do but I didn't trust myself enough with those choices and I gave in for parents' opinions instead. And I could regret it today, if I wanted to. :smileyhappy:

ziki

Message Edited by ziki on 05-04-200701:31 PM

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