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REPORTING · 28th September 2010
Walter McFarlane
If children don't learn the way they are taught, then teach them the way they can learn.

The Kitimat Public Library had a special guest speaker on Monday, September 20th. Pamela Proctor, author of ‘Honouring the Child’ was present to speak about combining methods of teaching which involve both work and play.

Proctor had a lot of concerns about the way the prescribed learning outcomes and tests override the primary elementary school curriculum. “It puts the pressure on teachers and it puts the pressure on parents and ultimately, the pressure is on the children as well and it is very detrimental to their learning,” said Proctor.

She opened a school in Vancouver in 1971 which was activity based and allowed Children to learn through play, something which she believes should be a part of the Primary program. After retiring in the 90s, Proctor finally got around to writing her book. The theme of the book is the teaching of the child to become a self learner.

“In the book, I go on about how we set our school up,” said Proctor. “The school and program were based on activity so when the child stepped into the classroom, there were lots of activities from which they could choose. Choosing was a big thing. When children choose what they are going to do, it doesn’t matter if it was work or play, to them, it doesn’t matter, it’s something that they choose to do and it is a lot more interest and a lot more commitment. After they have chosen they share with each other and they learn from each other.”

Did the program work? Proctor recently received an email from a student thanking her for the time it took to instil the self learning. Other students include an editor of a magazine while another graduated at the top of the class with a legal degree from UBC.

“I think that we need to be respectful of the child and not discourage them before they get through Kindergarten by testing them and making them feel like they can’t do things. We have to respect them very carefully and look after their needs. Encourage them. Support learning rather then impose it,” said Proctor.