The Learning Revolution

The learning revolution

Image from the cover page of the 2009 UK White Paper The Learning Revolution on
informal adult learning by the Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills.

Palomar5 Education organised a small, conspiratory event in reponse to Sir Ken Robinson’s call to bring on the learning revolution, a great opportunity to get some glimpses of how we will learn in the future through the lenses of Basti Hirsch, who went on a five-week education expedition through the United States; Aron Solomon, who is busy creating a boarding school with wheels, the Think Global School; and Margret Rasfeld, who founded a protestant reform school in Berlin. What have I seen?

I am here for the learning revolution. And you?

I am here for the learning revolution.
And you? Photo by wfryer on Flickr.

I have seen three very different approaches to and understandings of learning and education by people who share the belief that—while public education remains a fundamental cornerstone of democratic societies—much of what happens in our institutions of formal education is wrong and represents a broken system.

I have also seen a few shared principles underpinning three schools that are so very different –

  • the Science Leadership Academy, “an inquiry-driven, project-based high school focused on 21st century learning in Philadelphia,”
  • the Think Global School, “a global, private and non-profit high school that travels the world and tosses educational sterotypes out of the window,”
  • the Protestant Reform School, “a Berlin-based reform school aiming to introduce a radical change of learning culture.”

Many of these shared principles, I would guess, are key to most of the innovative education endeavours I know. Add to the list and share what you think in the comments!

We will learn in the future by

  • following rhythms of inquiry and learning rather than rhythms of compartmentalised structures and times,
  • moving away from memorising and teaching towards exploring and learning by doing,
  • turning away from sitting and listening passively to constructing and collaborating actively,
  • facilitating learning from failure instead of punishing every little mistake,
  • accepting uncertainty as the only certainty there is within the complexity of learning,
  • relating learning and living in ways that are fruitful and enriching both ways,
  • not teaching what to learn and think, but by teaching how to learn and think,
  • inventing and facilitating new and integrated learning formats, combining subjects and approaches,
  • turning away from instruction and control towards facilitation and support,
  • moving away from spaces controlled by educators towards spaces controlled by learners,
  • providing encouragement and support instead of criticism and barriers.

Admittedly, this list is generic—quite possibly, too generic—but it’s a start. Wir fangen schon mal an.