May 10, 2007

Stop eating food, you die. Stop learning, you die inside

James Bradburne is wondering what we do to kids after the age of five to turn off the switch that makes people want and need to learn. He hopes that we can "remagicalise the world" by changing the emphasis of teaching and learning towards something more like this:

"the aim of teaching is not to produce learning but to produce the conditions for learning, this is the focal point, the quality of the learning" (Malaguzzi)

Formal learning and truly informal learning
Formal learning is when you test people as they come in the door, and test them again as they leave. If you want to learn algebra then you are tested to make sure that you count. If you want to move onto Calculus then we might test to make sure that you know how to do algebra. Logical, makes sense to most people, but perhaps it's something that needs questions.

Can you fail a museum?
For example, have you ever seen someone fail a museum? As you leave a warden will ask you questions and send you back in if you don't know. Of course not. The museum is a learning experience but only because the museum provides an environment for learning.

Top Down
Taking the museum analogy further, though, we see a weakness (and connection with schools education) in where learning comes from. Learning is generally top-down. We learn what we are supposed to learn, what they tell us to. Museums keep memories, keep culture, but whose memories, whose cultures? Who decides that these are things that should be remembered by me, by you, by them?

Learning in the wild
Habitats outside the classroom, out there in the wild, are where the best learning might take place. It's certainly where most learning might already be taking place. So it's important that we all try to get out there in the wild with our students, as they adventure into exciting virgin territory.

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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