Coercion in learning

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Coercion in learning is the use of tools such as bribes or threats to make children learn against their will, and against their passions and interests. Coercion is a futile strategy as it is not possible to effectively motivate children extrinsically. As coercion violates the Fundamental law of learning, the learning results are usually poor as compared with a child's true potential.

Low efficiency of learning might be the least problem of coercion. The true problem is that coercion in learning results in the following overlapping negative outcomes:

Schools that adhere to the Prussian model of education fail for their use of coercion. In contrast, democratic schools are conducive for creative development. There are many models in between, but those that use coercion in learning are likely to cause long-term damage. Coercive systems in the US are likely to collapse within a decade or so.

Compulsory schooling can be compared to forcing a child into a bad diet. Once the child loses its ability to distinguish between bad foods and good foods, efficient navigation in the world of healthy eating becomes impossible. Healthy food can quickly cause damage if it is mixed with a bit of stale food. On a coercive diet, the child will learn to eat anything, indiscriminately and with no pleasure. After a few years at school, a child loses the pleasure of learning and is ready to consume any school material with asemantic learning

The opposite to coercive learning is free learning. For a comprehensive explanation see: Pleasure of learning.

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak

Learn drive vs. School drive
Learn drive vs. School drive

Figure: This is how school destroys the love of learning. Learn drive is the set of passions and interests that a child would like to pursue. School drive is the set of rewards and penalties set up by the school system. Learn drive leads to simple, mnemonic, coherent, stable and applicable memories due to the fact that the quality of knowledge determines the degree of reward in the learn drive system. School drive leads to complex, short-term memories vulnerable to interference due to the fact that schools serialize knowledge by curriculum (not by the neural mechanism of the learn drive). Competitive inhibition between the Learn drive and the School drive circuits will lead to the weakening of neural connections. Strong School drive will weaken the learn drive, destroy the passion for learning, and lead to learned helplessness. Powerful Learn drive will lead to rebellion that will protect intrinsic passions, but possibly will also lead to problems at school. Storing new knowledge under the influence of Learn drive is highly rewarding and carries no penalty (by definition of the learn drive). This will make the learn drive thrive leading to success in learning (and at school). In contrast, poor quality of knowledge induced by the pressures of the School drive will produce a weaker reward signal, and possibly a strong incoherence penalty. The penalty will feed back to produce reactance against the school drive, which will in turn require further coercive correction from the school system, which will in turn reduce the quality of knowledge further. Those feedback loops may lead to the dominance of one of the forces: the learn drive or the school drive. Thriving learn drive increases rebellion that increases defenses against the school drive. Similarly, increased penalization at school increases learned helplessness that weakens the learn drive and results in submission to the system. Sadly, in most cases, the control system settles in the middle of those two extremes (see: the old soup problem). Most children hate school, lose their love of learning, and still submit to the enslavement. Their best chance for recovery is the freedom of college, or better yet, the freedom of adulthood. See: Competitive feedback loops in binary decision making at neuronal level
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