What does autonomy in education do for kids long-term?
The result, at schools that embrace autonomy in education, are students who develop a sense of responsability and self-motivaiton. As Alfie Kohn, an American scholar who writes about education, parenting and human development, puts it, “If we want children to take responsibility for their own behavior, we must first give them responsibility, and plenty of it. The way a child learns how to make decisions is by making decisions, not by following directions.” This is, perhaps, the greatest benefit of autonomy in education for children: The skills it fosters extend to their ability to make their way in all spheres of life: academic, yes, but also economic, artistic, domestic, social, and political.
Schools can always add more structure and control, but it comes at the cost of power and choice for the child and the adult he or she becomes. Only through an education that encourages and furthers autonomy do both the individual and society benefit, allowing both to fully realize their individual and collective potential.