Detox Symptoms
©1994-2005 by Ed Dickerson, all rights reserved.
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Passivity infects children because schools regiment and direct virtually every moment of their day. "Stand in line," students hear, "keep your hands to yourself. No talking! Sit at your desk. Take out your workbook, turn to page ten. Use a #2 pencil (does anybody ever ask for a #1?). Write your name in the upper right corner. Do as you're told."

Detoxing: Shatter Schoolish Thinking that Crushes Creativity and Limits Learning 40 pp. $3.25 ppd.

From the book:
"First parents, and later schools, give an unspoken promise to children: We promise that we will feed their hunger for learning; that we will never betray their trust; that we will never use their openness against them. So long as we keep those promises, they remain open to wonder, eager to learn.

When schools and schoolishness break these promises, trust evaporates, taking innocence and wonder with it. Wary now, children develop survival behaviors appropriate to an environment increasingly hostile to learning."


As surely as malarial mosquitoes arise from a fever swamp, irresponsibility arises from passivity. When you receive repeated messages telling you not to do anything wrong, you learn not to do anything. Of course, with energetic young children, this comes at a price. All their nervous energy has to go somewhere, and it often ends up in activities which get the child labeled ADD or ADHD. This is especially true of children whose primary intelligenge is "kinesthetic"-- those who learn by touching, or large body motions. So the enforced passivity of schools gets many children twice.

Instruction/Teacher Dependency

In schoolish thinking, the teacher. . .has become the "black hole" of the classroom, sucking in all responsibility, initiative, and enthusiasm. The teacher has assumed such massive proportions that neither light nor heat can escape except at the teacher's express action.

"Right Answer" Mentality

Schoolish thinking assumes that every question, problem, or challenge has one and only one "right" answer, making all others automatically false. . . Their mental abilities frozen by passivity, this assumption of "one right answer" impedes the glacial flow of their mental processes even further.


Fear of being wrong, and its counterpart, perfectionism, erode trust and obstruct learning. . . . Ending the risk of mistakes effectively ends learning.

Textbook Tyranny

“The primary function of textbooks today is to medicate adult worries about education. They’re the Prozac for treating schoolishness-induced anxiety.”
--from the book
Contrary to popular belief, they're not designed for children. . . . You don't see kids . . .mobbing the book stores seeking the last copy of "English Grammar Level IV." Harry Potter, maybe. Textbooks? You're kidding.

Peer Dependence

The peer group subjugates the individual, enforces uniformity, ridicules individuality, destroys trust, and drains confidence.


Fearful of being wrong, unaware of their own preferences, not knowing the "right answer," accustomed to being told what to do by teachers and/or peers, they freeze facing a choice.