As adults, the reason we learn new things is because our lack of knowledge gets in the way of something we want to do. So we go out and find a way to learn what we need to learn. Right? Our recognition of our lack of knowledge and our need to know leads to learning. Authentic learning.
But school isn’t set up that way at all. School is set up for us to be “fed” all the information that we’ll ever need to know before we’re asked to use it. Before we even know that we might need it. Before educators even know that it’ll be useful for us. It’s all based on the assumption that “they” know what “we” will need to know.
What if school was set up to help us practice learning how to learn instead of spending time asking us to prove that we’ve retained something that’s been fed to us? Because in the real world, rarely is the information we need to know for our jobs, for our lives, fed to us. We have to go out and find that information.
Well, that is, unless we’re working on an assembly line that requires very little original thought or initiative. —— long pause —— And just how many of us in the US have those factory based, assembly line types of jobs now?
So if we’re preparing our kids for the real world, why isn’t school set up with a series of challenges that made us need to learn information-gathering, idea processing, and content creation? And the kids learn what information (and skills) they need to know through those challenges? And best of all, why couldn’t the challenges be set up in ways students would want to complete them?
And why is this concept so difficult for us to try?
If you’re intrigued, let me know. I think I might have answers but I can’t complete this challenge alone. I need your help too.