Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Learning, Education, Training, and School

I just finished another Sir Ken Robinson book. This one is Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education. There are so many good things in this book. I've already started to listen to it again.

One of the first things I really liked was his talk about the difference between learning, education, training, and school.

Learning - the process of acquiring new knowledge and skills
Education - the organized program(s) of learning
Training - a type of education that's focuses on learning specific skills
School - any community of people that comes together to learn with each other

I have been trying to get my students to actually learn in my classes for several years. However, I have found that the grade is one of the biggest problems with learning in our system. When students are worried about grades, they will only do that which is required so they can get the minimum grade they want. It doesn't matter how good the activity is. It doesn't matter how engaging the activity is. It doesn't even matter if students are thoroughly invested in the activity. If there is a grade attached to the activity, that is what students are going to concentrate on.

Oh, they will seem interested in what is going on in the activity for awhile, but when the activity starts to come to an end, they will just start to worry about the grade and what they have to do to get the grade they want.

One quote that I just found today was:

“The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners...

It is as true now as it was then that no matter what tests show, very little of what is taught in school is learned, very little of what is learned is remembered, and very little of what is remembered is used.

The things we learn, remember, and use are the things we seek out or meet in the daily, serious, nonschool parts of our lives.”

~ John Holt Quotes

So many times I think people (teachers, students, parents, etc.) equate teaching to learning. However, I am always trying to tell my students that they don't need a teacher to learn. I especially tell this to my Spanish students. I tell them that people learn new languages all of the time throughout the world without going into a classroom or having a teacher. 

Several years ago as I was telling one of my computer classes that they could learn just about anything from Google, one student asked me: "So, why do we even come to school?" I replied to her that even though they could learn just about anything from Google, they most likely wouldn't do it on their own. She paused for a minute and then agreed with me. 

I think some of that comes from us as teachers taking out any creativity on their part from school. They have to do the things we want them to do, the way that we want them to do it. This is something I want to start to work on this next year. I don't think I could go "cold turkey" from doing the assignments I know help students to learn, but eventually I want to be able to have them figure out how they can prove on their own that they can learn the things I want them to learn, but they can prove that in anyway they want.

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