Thursday, November 15, 2012

school vs learning

as wise as a sooty owl
I hardly remember anything I learned in high school or college.  Most of that information was crammed into my brain short-term so I could pass a test and then forget it, because I never needed it again.  So what was the point?  School taught me how to take tests, but how many times in my adult life have I been given tests?  Not many. What I do remember about school, is getting bullied, partying, dating, and more than anything, constantly running out of money.
Students used to rely on teachers to give them knowledge out of a textbook.  This put everyone on the same level to produce a batch of children factory molded to think and act the same.  Maybe cookie-cutter people were necessary for the work force during the industrial revolution. Many times our society spawned solid, well-defined roles that people were squeezed into in order to appear useful, but in reality those confining, oppressive roles lead to unhappy victims of the norm.  For example, think about the 1950's wife with her picket fence and perfect hairstyle.  That image was short lived and terminated with the rise of feminism, protests and burnt bras. Times have changed. We no longer need batches of identical people.  We no longer want to be told what to do and how to think. Luckily, knowledge is available everywhere and we no longer have to search for it.  Formal education prepares us to cope with certainty - but in life there is no certainty. Learning can not be standardized. What we need to be taught is HOW TO LEARN.
Access to  inexpensive education is a revolution that destroys an imperfect system and enable unique and diverse possibilities. We can create environments where students are engaged in learning.  Instead of teaching them to memorize problems that have already been solved, we can teach them to solve problems.

I have more control and interest in my education now than I ever did as a full-time student.  Now I learn what I am curious about, I have much more extensive resources, I learn at my optimum pace and I USE what I learn in practical, everyday moments.  For example, I'm taking a free on-line course on the History of English - to help me write my next novel, extend my vocabulary, and teach my kids.  My 7 year old daughter was asked in class to share some of her fancy words.  The other kids came up with "fantastic" and "crazy" She said "extricate" and "plebian". Ok, maybe she won't use those words in every day speech, but she knows how to learn new words and that's what's important.
Here is an amazing video that shows the evolution of learning and how it is making traditional school obsolete. 

1 comment:

erika said...

That makes a lot of sense. I hope that school for my kids is teaching how to find the knowledge they need as well as how to get along with others, accept differences and work together. I don't know if it is but I'm kinda idealistic...