Are we learning or schooling?
I always find pieces on education and the learning system particularly interesting and this was no exception. As I have stated before in previous posts, I tend to worry if our educational system isn’t off focus and if we aren’t striving to get the wrong things out of education. I really liked learning webs because it stated opinions I feel to be true, but also added new ideas for me to ponder.
The nugget about how most of the knowledge necessary for life is not learned in school, but outside of it was the first that caught my attention. It is true, at least for me that I feel that most of the things of true value I have learned were from experience. Growing up playing with friends, watching TV and observe how the world worked around me taught me what life is really about. Even if I were to talk in a more academic setting, I feel that this year in my field study working at The Child Study Center here at Tech I have learned far more about my major and how to apply knowledge to real life than any of the other years of schooling combined. Being able to experience and see first hand how psychologists and clinician actually work has taught me so much about psychology. Yes, my previous classes did give me background knowledge, but seeing it in real life made it click with me and has inspired me to go into the field of child psychology. So I couldn’t agree more with the advantages of apprenticeship or shadowing. The piece talked about how an alternative to dependence on schools is not the use of public resources for some new devise which makes people learn, but a new style of educational relationship between man and his environment. I believe that it is the when we make connections with or relationships with the world around us is when we learn, so I think this is an idea on the right track. The question though is how do we get there.
Another thought is how do we get students to participate in self-motivated learning instead of forcing students in to strict constraints of what we call education. How could we get students to learn on their own time, in their own way and driven by their own interests, but still have enough structure in that they learn? How can we get students to meaningfully link what they want to and are learning to the world around them in a productive and way. The piece describes this as the difference from schooling and learning. These can often be confused as synonyms, but when you look closely it is interesting to observe the differences.
Another piece I really liked was that school is structured on the assumption that there is a secret to everything to life and you need to know this secret. The only way to get this secret is to go through school and follow under the direction of the all-knowing teacher. How do we break apart from this and let students break into the real world earlier and start understanding the secrets of life as they learn and grow. Who says that a teacher has to know all or even more than his/her students? The piece talked about resources to learning being things, models, peers and elders. Couldn’t and shouldn’t students be considered a resource for the teachers as well? Fresh new minds, with new ideas, only limited by the limits of the child’s imagination helping to further the depth of knowledge of seasoned scholars.
So when writing these I thought I was writing about all different nuggets, but I see now they are all very closely linked and related. I think what the education system needs is a combination of all of these things. Of real world experience, based on self-motivation, having students makes their own links on what they think is important and then using that to help further the knowledge of both their peers and teachers. Maybe school shouldn’t have such a rigid curriculum, where you go in knowing exactly what is on the agenda. Maybe classes shouldn’t just be focused on what educational institutions think is important, but what the people coming into these classes think is important.
Along with my other posts on education, I have a long rambling of thoughts and questions. I feel like there is something missing from our education system, but I don’t necessarily have a good solution. I don’t know if it is really possible to get away with the idea of schooling, and I don’t think that is necessary either. I think revisions need to be made, but the question is which ones and how. How can you change something like education, something so big and ingrained in not only our society and culture, but world wide. It’s a hard question to answer.