Voorschoolse Muziek Educatie

Early Years Music Education


April 2023

Saying that young children are wired to learn has some major implications. First there is the analogy of being a machine. Machines have wires, and mostly are connected to electricity. Being wired then looks as if they/the children are driven/powered from the outside.  As if they need some sort of ‘imput’ (computer term) in order to function by definition. 

Secondly learning most of the time is something you do yourself. A teacher teaches and a pupil/student learns. You need to do something yourself to do any learning. So now we have a contradiction. Being wired might means you need something from the outside, learning you need to do on the inside. In short: the result might be that the outside then is keen to provide you with all they think you need to learn, however, you need to do the learning yourself. Indeed, I can imagine a power failure or perhaps even a short-circuit. Because what is on offer? How much is on offer and why? But then there is another element which is the child-centred approach. Sounds lovely. But if things need to come from the outside and a child has to do/learn it herself then again a contradiction: why the need for things being on offer while the idee is that a child already has everything inside? So, in fact no need to offer anything the wire system then will sort out what is needed and the offers can be on display only because there is only a connection needed with what is already there.

Then why does this not work? How come we see some sort of crisis in (art)education? Levels are dropping.

Well first I think because they are children and not machines. Any analogy with any outside non-organic element is a false comparison. If we start to compare humans with machines then the machines might as well take over because what is the point?  Hello Neo! Humans and in this case children are so much more and have so much more capacities than machines have. Their thinking and acting can be creative, random and influenced by the environment and the moment. A machine will only do that which has been put in by a human. Machines can be programmed to learn, however there is a danger to compare this machine learning, because they are literally wired. (Any quantum-transfer is beyond my comprehension, so wires still helps.) Also it puts the meaning of learning in a whole new light. If a machine can “learn” what does it actually do?  And most importantly: is this the same learning a young child will do? I would like to express a firm No! here. 

A machine does not have a soul. It will always need to have a core or harddisk that has been constructed by a human. Humans live by making meaning. There is a need to understand, to have reasons to live. To have reasons to do something. Machines do not have reasons. 

A big thank you to Dr. Susan Young for helping me with proper English.

© Voorschoolse Muziek Educatie 2024

© Early Years Music Education 2024