I just came across a fascinating article about the hunter-gatherers approach to children and education: http://tinyurl.com/n2ku9d. I love the new foundation approach to education currently transforming nursery and primary schools, with its focus on the importance of play.
Play requires individual freedom and the foundation phase recognises that children learn more when allowed to make their own choices and when learning is fun. This article points out that play is no longer play when one person attempts to dominate another and dictate what they do. If life is a grand game, then each player, including children, must be free to make his or her own moves, while still abiding by the general rules of the game-ie the larger rules of society, which apply to everyone. To interfere with the players' abilities to make choices is to destroy the game for them. Social interaction and learning become burdensome toil rather than joyful play when they are enforced and controlled by others. By refraining from using their greater physical strength or mental prowess to control children's behaviour, hunter-gatherer adults refrain from destroying the sense of play in their children and in themselves.
Perhaps there are some lessons here that could be learned for adult education too.