Light Offerings

What can you DO with that Learning?

Posted by jturner56 on March 6, 2016

Do we too often confuse educating (to….systemised) with learning (by….for life)?

When I googled the question, ‘What can you do with that learning?’ – what I received was how University degrees matter.

When I googled a similar question, ‘What can you make with that learning?’ – what I received were instruction for teachers.

Is a key point being missed, caught between Dewey’s ‘Learning by Doing‘ and Thorndyke’s law of effect of rewarded behaviours that have come to dominate school as an institution? Scripts that deny designs that can go deeper. That deny true identity formation.

I see this every time I see students struggle to find meaning and relevancy, from mathematics no longer needed, to project-based learning undervalued. From teacher-centric content to external testing as primary value.

In times and places where delayed gratification, backed up by early alternative pathways, was acceptable in education, this could be dismissed as a discussion point. But in modern times of increased personal access and interaction through digital technologies for personal learning, up against increasing inequalities at all levels of schooling, is this sustainable, much less tolerable?

Next time you want to identify what educating has truly achieved, after identifying the intended outcome, ask yourself, and your students, ‘what can you do with that learning?’

What should be our response if the reply is shrugs, or answers like ‘to help past tests’, or ‘because I needed better grades’ or ‘to keep my parents/teachers off my back’?

If the student’s insights is not empowering, then surely the next question is, why?

If the answer helps us better understand the differences between ‘solution through measurements of educating externally defined, designed and applied’ and ‘measuring effects of learning on the individual and community’, there is hope.

PS…interestingly, Googling ‘measuring effects of learning’ also returned a misleading foray into ‘effects on learning’ or ‘reporting on learning capabilities’.



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