Stop and think about the most significant lessons you’ve learned in life – times when you’ve gained insights or skills of lasting importance. Now reflect for a moment – did this take place in a classroom? were you taught these lessons by a teacher? did the teacher evaluate how well you learned them?
Most likely the answer to all three questions is no. Yet every day our students “learn” to relinquish responsibility for learning to their teachers. By the time they get to high school, their natural curiosity has been trampled into submission – their questioning reduced to the level of “will this be on the test?” or “does spelling count?”
Recently my Twitter network (thanks @L_Hilt ) pointed me to an insightful observation on the traditional classroom. Next time you lament that students aren’t motivated, think about the distance between what we learn in school and what we learn in life.
7 Tacit Lessons Schools Teach Children
- Knowledge is scarce.
- Learning needs a specific place and specific time (lessons in classrooms).
- Knowledge is best learned in disconnected little pieces (lessons).
- To learn you need the help of an approved expert (a teacher).
- To learn you need to follow a path determined by a learning expert (a course of study).
- You need an expert to assess your progress (a teacher).
- You can attribute a meaningful numerical value to the value of learning (marks, grades, degrees).
~ From Don Ledingham’s blog post “Utopia” – a summary of a talk by Alan McCluskey on the seven tacit lessons which schools teach children.
If you had trouble reflecting on life’s lessons or are interested in how to foster more reflective schools, see my post “A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals“
Image credit Flickr/Peaches&Cream