Peter Gray Video

2013 March 10
by Elliot

On the 5th of March, 2013, Dr. Peter Gray spoke at Clearview on the thesis he has been developing for his newly released book, Free to Learn.  The human brain has evolved to develop and be educated in an atmosphere of freedom and trust.  It is only relatively recently that children have begun to be educated strictly under the guidance of adults. Extensive research and studies over  the past 60+ years have shown a correlation between declining free time and a rise in emotional and social disorders among our youth. It is possible for modern society to get back in sync with our innate ability for education.

Dr. Gray spoke and answered questions from the audience for an hour and 40 minutes. We have broken up into 15 segments, which will be uploaded weekly installments. These videos can also be found on our Vimeo page.

We have also made a DVD of this talk. Please contact us for a free DVD, with a $5 shipping cost if we need to mail it to you.

Chapter 1: Evolutionary Developmental Psychology
Peter Gray introduces his interest in the overlap between evolutionary and developmental psychology. Humans evolved as hunter gatherers.

Chapter 2: A Correlation Between Decreasing Play and Increasing Pathology

From anecdotal and clinical evidence, Dr. Gray demonstrates a clear correlation between a decline in the freedom of children and an increase in developmental pathology.


Chapter 3: Causation Between Decreasing Play and Increasing Pathology

Though correlation does not mean causation, there is good reason to believe the decline in children’s freedom and ability to play is a cause of the documented rise in unhappiness and pathology.

Chapter 4: Kids Today Are Trusted Less

A little tangent about what it was like being a kid, even just 30 years ago, compared to today.

Chapter 5: Culture Throughout Human Evolution

Human beings have had agriculture for just a flash in the history of our species’ evolution. As an evolutionary psychologist, Peter Gray gives great weight to the long period of evolution prior to agriculture. It was during this period that the innate learning processes of our species evolved. What was culture like during this period? How were children educated? What was (and presumably is still) necessary for healthy development of children into adults?

Chapter 6: The Role of Play in Evolution

Play has been central in the development of competent, mature individuals throughout essentially all of human evolution. Dr. Gray discusses the character of this play and how it acted as the dominant, if not only, mode of education.

Chapter 7: Too Bad We Aren’t Hunter Gatherers!

That all sounds well and good, but culture is radically different today than it was in hunter gather societies. Right?

Chapter 8: Creating Educational Opportunities

Under the paradigm discussed in this series, it is up to children to educate themselves, but it is up to adults to provide for an environment where children can educate themselves. As adults, how do we create these possibilities for self education within modern society? What are characteristics of such an environment?

Questions and Answers

Peter Gray used the last 40 minutes of his time speaking to answer questions from the audience.

Is unrestricted access to video games too much?

Is it too late for my teen to get something out of a Sudbury School?

What about homeschooling? Unschooling?

Comments from one family on boredom in unschooling vs a Sudbury school.

One parent comments (inaudible in recording) on their families experience with boredom in unschooling vs at a Sudbury School. When unschooling, their kids would respond to boredom by whining. At a Sudbury School, they began to respond to boredom by thinking of things to do.

Questions and comments about age mixing, competition and bullying.

“Defensive Parenting”

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