For a child the way of learning seems more akin to play then study. They are able to master many things on their own, supported and guided by adults but also highly self directed.
Then formal schooling begins, and we put our children into classrooms. One adult is given the task of teaching a wide range of subjects. There is a lot of information they are asked to remember, often with little explanation about how these various subjects fit together.
For too many children, this new way of learning seems duller, abstract, rigid and very confusing. The world that up until then had been experienced as a whole starts to look more fractured and compartmentalized in their minds. Social relationships which had previously been free and dynamic are now more formalized and controlled.
When a heavy emphasis is put on obedience, conformity, memorization, testing and grades many children start to feel suffocated with classroom learning, especially if lessons seem meaningless and boring or they are assessed as being less than average in their learning potential.
By the teen years millions around the world have lost interest in the subjects taught by schools. Their natural curiosity and creativity goes underground, they start to escape and rebel in various ways.
To change this situation we need to move toward educational systems that are more creative, cooperative and learner-centered, less competitive, mechanistic and test-centered. Provide environments that encourage mastery, curiosity and enjoyment in learning.
If we make it a priority we could design educational systems to be more aligned with the ways our children naturally learn. Schools like this already exist- learning communities such as at Mission Hill, Boston Arts Academy and many Montessori Schools.