Fish tank perspective

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Fish tank perspective is the phenomenon in which teachers, pedagogues, educators, and school psychologists fail to correctly model childhood due to observing children solely in the context of schooling.

The most striking is the myth that all students are lazy. After many years of coercive learning, students instinctively avoid all efforts associated with learning. This is a natural defense mechanism that obstructs the fact that we are born to learn, and we all love learning until we are sent to school (see: Pleasure of learning).

In addition, we all develop a set of behaviors that match individual contexts. Those sets of behaviors form behavioral systems. The behavioral system exhibited at school is particularly tainted. Schools restrict freedom, grade performance, and penalize all departures from the rule set established for the purpose of the continual operation of the school factory system.

A child who appears well-mannered at school may be a bully on the schoolyard. All he needs is a well-conditioned well-schooled mask to wear at the right time. A child who is conditioned to be honest with a healthy expression of his emotions is penalized as disruptive. The child who shows no initiative at school may be an avid student of things around her childhood passions. Drug problems often fly under the radar until it is too late. The silent kid in the corner may harbor thoughts of terrorism or murder (see: Students with murder in mind). School shootings and suicide are a good illustration of how little adults know about a child's mind.

The main culprit is the denial of freedom. Kids are conditioned to keep their worlds hidden. The conditioning stems from the fact that all departures from the rigid ruleset are penalized (see: Optimization of behavioral spaces in development). Parents and teachers may keep their difference of opinion hidden from the child for the sake of "common front", which allegedly minimizes child's "confusion". The child may always hear "school is good", even if adults have their own doubts. Without freedom combined with an open, honest, and uncensored communication, the adults will always suffer from the fish tank perspective.

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