|Posted on May 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM|
Today's quote comes from one of the great leaders of the 20th century:
"The most imporant thing about education is appetite," -- Winston Churchill
How many times in our life are we "required to do something" by others? From an early age, we have people telling us what to do, how to think, and how to behave. There are obvious benefits to socializaton, but along the way, young people have their nautral curiosity drummed out of them and replaced with fear of failure and a general dislike of learning in general.
Somewhere along the line, learning becomes hard work and jumping through hoops.
Imagine if everyone's basic needs were taken care of and we were free to explore the world at our leisure. What if, once you learned the basics of mathematics and language you were free to delve into the areas of study that you felt drawn to?
Public education is slowly (and I do mean s-l-o-w-l-y) moving away from an assembly line "one size fits all" approach to learning in favor of self-directed knowledge and skill acquirement. Every teacher I know who has allowed students the freedom to creatively pursue a topic can tell you stories of surprisingly astute and meaningful content creation by students. Sure there are always those who do the bare minimum, and sure we all need someone to extrinsically motivate us from time to time. But in general, when left to our own devices wihtout having to spend every waking hour following someone else's agenda, we tend to opt for learning more about what we have a passion for.
The classroom of the future is putting the student in the pilot's seat, teaching them the controls, and then guiding them to make decisions about their destination and flight plan. Students need to learn that all source material (and I do mean all) is subject to human perception and interpretation. There is quality information backed by research and there is blind conjecture. There is propaganda offered from an organization's ideology and there is direct personal experience. We all have at one time or another been "duped" by an online source of information that turned out to be a hoax.
It really is a brave new world in education, as it is in so many areas of our lives. It's an exciting and equally unsettling time to be alive.
This article (c) 2011 Thomas J. West. All content on ThomasJWestMusic dot com is licensed under a Creative Contributions Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Please contact the author before publishing on or off-line.