Monday, August 29, 2011

4 Ideas to Transform Learning

In her piece School would be ideal… if it weren’t school, provides four key points that help illustrate the ideal “Learning Center.”
  1. It should never be called “School”.
    School is for training and indoctrinating, not learning.  Let us go with Learning Center or something similar.
  2. It should never ever be compulsory.
    We should not be forcing people into pseudo academic situations that may not agree with personal desires and/or beliefs. Yes everyone has the “right” to education, and as such learning is something that is always freely available everywhere, all the time and can even be made more available – but having the right to do something does not in any way validate that it should be forced upon anyone - especially by any prescribed or predetermined means.
  3. It should not be standardized or federalized.
    By allowing for one golden mean or ‘standard’ of education, we completely violate individual freedom by blatantly ignoring personal desires and restricting true freedom to learn (the right that everyone has, remember?).   Furthermore, who gets to decide what this ‘standard’ should be and why?  Why does a board get to represent me and what I want or need to learn to fulfill my personal aspirations? 
  4. No Federal Funding.
    I’ve been known to say that such establishments should not be publicly funded, but funded by those who use it and perhaps philanthropic donation.   I will concede however, that learning centers can be reasonably publicly funded if they operated similarly to libraries and community centers.   Ideally these would be funded by local taxes in the county or city that they serve…. for the sake of those who depend on the existence of a safe place for their children to be during the day while society learns to transition to a more human educational system.
Lynn suggests we imagine county run,  independent learning centers that are not compulsory and are available to use by anyone who wishes to use them. Centers would have learning facilitators who were teachers,  parents, teenagers, industry leaders and other community members who use the facility.   Funding would come partially from local taxes (perhaps) as well as private donations and/or paid extra courses that are offered. Much in the same way community centers operate now. Lynn suggests this would be the ideal replacement for what we now know as school system that is outdated, dysfunctional and damaging to children.

What do you think?

You can visit Laurette Lynn's whole post and read more about these ideas here.


  1. Great articles. I agree that education should not be forced upon anyone.

    Do you think it is appropriate for people to be forced to provide everyone's "right to an education"?

  2. I think Laurette may have picked up the idea of the learning center from John Holt and Ivan Illach, and that she should reference the source of "her" idea.

  3. #4 is extremely problematic given that not every community can afford these changes. When you fund things at the local level, I agree that it allows for autonomy and choice (which is good) but at the same time it perpetuates the status quo in terms of social mobility.

    I'm in complete agreement with #2 and #3 and think that #1 is just being pedantic. We choose what the word school means, and I could see learning centres being just as problematic as schools are now. Define the space not by the word you use to describe it, but by the function it performs.

  4. I agree with all, except wih #2. In my country primary and high education is compulsory. You have the right to choose where, how and what to study, but you can't let a young person choose in not studying. The question is, if it is not education "the" option, then what? Working? When we are trying to eradicate youth work, it will be disastrous to give the chance to avoid education. Remember that we are talking about young people that nowadays don't like schools (not all), so probably the answer will be "no education", because some of them still don't see the potential of a professional education. Do you remember when your mom forced to you to eat or do something you didn't want to do, but you never understood that she was forcing you for a good reason? Education is similar, Education is compulsory for a higher purpose. And, we, as adults know that. For example, I really can't see how to stop the circle of poverty if it is not by education.
    Finally, I don't know how a person without knowledge or a professional education can fit in a modern and demanding world as the one we live in.

  5. I completely agree. I think there are great teachers and some good schools but far to often we aren't doing enough to education our children.

  6. Read "De-schooling Society" by Ivan Illich though old but still a great inspiration even now. Goto for more relevant writings :)

  7. We must use Nearpod to transform learning! I've tried it and my students really love working with it. It's an app to use in the classroom, highly useful for any subject.
    Mel. Wilkes