If a child is a passionate learner

Here is my assertion (although, perhaps it can only be made as an assumption): Every child is a passionate learner.  Now I’m not alone in this: Robert L. Fried, as Associate Professor at Northeastern U. argues this in his book The Passionate Learner (Beacon Press, 2001).  He says: Children come into the world with a desire to learn that is as natural as is the desire to eat & move & be loved.  Their hunger for knowledge, for skills, for the feeling of mastery is as strong as any other appetite.  Now, whether or not you absolutely agree with this, you are probably in agreement with another assertion of his: We are less like to see this same passion when we look at children in school.  Something happens to a child when learning is replaced by schooling. I’ve always felt that we tend to put too much emphasis on the in-classroom three [3] R’s schooling and not enough on the overall learning moment when students are at the school facility.  I know I always enjoyed recess, phys ed, music, and Jr Red Cross days along with library time much more than the various scheduled classes.  In retrospect I wonder if I might have enjoyed (and therefore learned) French better if it had been part of library & music times.  And in case you think I have a special love of all things hands on you’d be mistaken — I greatly disliked art and shop (industrial ed) as well as that part of gym where we had to do gymnastics.  Extra-curricular activities were best of all because I was able to choose: basketball, volleyball, football, drama, public speaking, and track (the field part, not so much!). I bring this up at this time because the teachers in BC are going on a work to rule campaign, interspersed with rotating walkouts.  And they have the audacity to say that this will not affect the students.  Where did they go to get their education degrees?  (By the way four [4] of the five [5] degrees I have are from various fields within the overarching discipline of education.)  How do we inspire passion in students if we reduce our willingness to let them play (and worse yet, not playing with them ourselves), are walking off the job, and generally filling the media with vitriol about how badly we are being treated? Perhaps this labour dispute provides an opportunity for a real paradigm shift.  Let’s increase the number of school days to two hundred forty [240] divided into four [4] seasonal semesters.  This would leave twenty-three [23] days (other than weekends), of which twenty [20] would provide a week’s break between each semester and three [3] days to be determined each year depending on accommodating statutory holidays.  Teachers would be given one [1] sabbatical semester off every two [2] years of teaching, although there would be the option to bank this time off (although the maximum would be a full year, meaning that after eight [8] years of teaching without a break, an individual would have to take a full four [4] semester sabbatical).  Teachers would get whatever pro d they wanted either during their sabbatical, or after hours (the way most of us up-grade our skills & abilities to keep relevant). The school days would also be from eight [8] to five [5], with students being in classes from 9:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Teachers could opt out at 4:00 p.m. if they worked through the lunch hour (or conversely, they could arrive at 9:00 a.m. and work straight through to 5:00 p.m.).  This would allow for lots of extra-curricular activities at noon as well as before & after school and show students that teaching is hard work, done by committed professionals who, when they start each day, are perceived not to be wasting any time.  The focus would be on trying to increase the fun & bring energetic passion back into learning. Oh, as well there would also be a freeze on all salaries (including administrators, support teams, etc.) until it could be shown that the vast majority of students had become passionate again towards learning and that the attitude within each school was one of joy and celebratory towards learning.