12 August 2014


I was a curious young thing - still am, in fact, only now I’m less young. One of the greatest gifts my parents ever gave to me was the right to ask why?(and how? And what? And when?). The essence of education is, after all, asking questions, even if you don’t always get answers.

Although pedagogy as we encounter it in many modern schools may be far from what we consider ideal, it is only a fraction of our - that is, children's and adults’ - learning experience. Pedagogy is exercised in multitudinous ways by parents, colleagues and friends every day. We live in a world where we feel scrutinised, assessed and measured for each movement we make, each decision we take, yet do we truly feel we’re learning better when forced?

Stop for a moment and think of the last time you truly learned something. Did you educate yourself? Did you glimpse a fact in a magazine? What was it that made you remember this facet of knowledge? What were the pedagogical forces at play? For most people there needs to be some level of personal engagement to make them want to ask ‘but why?’ and delve further.

There is then, perhaps, no greater pedagogue that childhood itself: the endless days of curious investigation and discovery; those 18 or so years of saturation in self-discovery and your environment. The untainted fascination at the novelty of everything around you, being lived and tested for the first time has to be one of the most enchanting times of one’s existence.

Modern educators (in all their forms) are faced with the challenges of meeting deadlines, inflicting endless tests and reporting on the learning and development of young people. There’s always a new theory on how best to teach the alphabet, basic algebra, social graces. Children are a blank slate which is why being a teacher, sibling, parent or friend is such an immense but exciting responsibility. But what is pedagogy if not learning how best to let children self-instruct to some degree?

After all, the ultimate trial-and-error experiment is growing up.


You can find more writing from Rachael on her blog at cycleinlondon.wordpress.com


The first UK solo exhibition from Sharon Lockhart is open until 26 October. For more information about Sharon and the exhibition, please visit the project page.