On Learning…In School

On Learning…In School post thumbnail image

New rule: Whenever we talk about learning, we should distinguish between learning in the real world and learning IN SCHOOL.

For example, the work of John Hattie is cited daily as research that can help us improve student learning. All good, as long as we remember that his research is about improving learning IN SCHOOL as measured by very narrow, quantitative indicators.

That’s an important distinction because the reality is that IN SCHOOL we’re trying to get kids to learn things that they haven’t chosen to learn, that they’re not always interested in learning, that they see little reason for learning when it comes to real life application, and that they forget much of as they move through their lives.

So when we read things like “teaching is the most important factor impacting student learning” IN SCHOOL, that doesn’t necessarily mean that teaching is the most important factor impacting learning in the world. In fact, teaching in the traditional sense in many ways inhibits the deep, powerful learning that we want all kids to experience.

I’m not saying teachers don’t have a role or that they don’t have value. But we have to decide what our aspirations really are when it comes to our kids. To be successful at school, or to be amazing learners who thrive in the world?

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