The Learning School
Dec 14, 2013 Other 1972 Views
Beneath the base of a rich and robust curriculum, past the point of prolific and passionate teachers, beyond the bond that binds playing and spirited pupils, learning will only become the experience of all when we learn what we should have learnt thirty years ago. Thirty years! That's how long it's been since Howard Gardner shared his Frames of Mind with us: That one child plays the piano while the other can't even hum a tune doesn't make the latter any less intelligent. We haven't learnt that, have we? Or why in the world do we have a Ministry of Teaching rather than a Ministry of Education?
When a people can afford to throw a party over a tenth rather than demand a rightful third of the national budget, its graduates can rejoice in the rot that they went to school to learn to read and write. If yesterday's child had a school to learn in, today's adult would have had a house to vote in. That is a tall order since our schools still admit based on Numeracy and Literacy scores, yet lack the courage to disclose the content of our disrespect for the child who is naturalistic. Why we don't care to check for Existential Intelligence at our facility's entry point is one question parents never dare to ask. We don't even have a curriculum that covers these. Our teachers gave us notes to copy. We expended the last three decades re-inventing the wheel.
Isn't it possible that the child who wears our labels appreciates the Fibonacci sequence much better than we understand the subject we got our degree in? But we seem faster at springing standard stigma for the pupil who can learn in the way we can't teach, than transforming our schoolrooms into the learning fields they were meant to be. Simply put, we don't know the child. Did the world in the classroom really know George Washington and George Patton? Did the school system know Whoopi Goldberg or Steven Spielberg? Was there a palette for Leonardo da Vinci or a brush for Pablo Picasso on their first day at school? The business ideas bubbling in Richard Branson's brain didn't get an air in class. Neither did those industrial sparks flickering in Henry Ford's. If teachers were endowed with the gift of dyslexia, school life would have been better for Tom Cruise and Thomas Edison.
For each of these geniuses, there is proof that the learner can learn without the teacher or, at the least, that learning fields exist because of learners. Socrates was right: "You can't teach a man anything." So, if all we do is rote and perennialism, perhaps we may learn that there's a learner who needs more pictures. There is another who needs a song. There is yet another who needs to jump or dance or fiddle with stuff. And every lesson can reflect all these as much as the learner must be encouraged to find his own level within the group. Thus, a teacher must transmute her head knowledge into a spongy setting for every different learner with the creativity of a master sculptor entrusted with the blade of a knife and the block of a piece of mahogany. As such, a reconstruction of the scenario to suit the learner who learns in his own way is accepted as crucial to a learning school.
There is a problem though: assessment. Can today's learner whose learning environment has finally been adapted to suit his learning style be fairly adjudged to have learnt anything under examination conditions? Yet assessed, he has to be. Therefore, our assessment strategy ought also to improve. If a child may record what he learns in his own way, he should reserve the right to reproduce it in a way he chooses.
We have delayed the learner for thirty years. The earlier we changed our frame of mind, the better for the world. Teaching as a professional practice gets easier when learners learn in their own way.
Article source: http://eslarticle.com/pub/other/106890-The-Learning-School.html