Learning vs. Doing School

The next post in my 200 Word, 3 blog challenge from IMMOOC:

What are your connections to the “School vs Learning image (see above)? What would you add or modify?

Let’s talk about “connections.”   “Connections” was the name of the middle school humanities course I developed and evolved over a course of 20 years (1996–2014).  And so when I first read The Innovator’s Mindset, I realized how deeply I’d grown, over the years, into seeing Connections not as a place in school, but as a place of learning.  The class came out of a district-wide charette and was charged with exploring the connections between the arts and humanities.

We spent several weeks in “I-Search” projects (the 1980s equivalent of a 20 Time Project) delving into learner’s passions and interests.  My goal was to have them asking more
Right Question Institute questIons than me (thank you, ), to explore deeply, and to look at the world and ask two key questions:  Why are things the way they are?  and How can we make them better?


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We drew mindmaps, engaged in weekly seminars, wrote poems, learned about photography, and were producers, not merely consumers of culture.  Essentially, the children in Connections had agency over their education.  They were learners, not students.

Thus, if I were to add anything to this image, I’d add that “school is what we do to students…because” and “learning is driven by human beings with the freedom to exert their own agency towards productive cognitive ends.”  (Yeah, that last is a bit “academic,” but it’s what I’ve got.)

(Images from How Stuff Works, and Inhabitat.com)

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