Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Towards a New Process for Learning What is Important

By Dave Polland

Dave's opinion of the current formal education system of affluent nations on its ability to achieve these purposes is

Enabling us to realize our full capability -- D
Enabling us to acquire modern survival skills, including how to make a living -- F

I totally agree.I also agree that there is no work for those deliberately cowed and dumbed down by the education system.

Here are the attributes that Dave suspect the new learning process would have:
* It would be a self-managed process, both at the individual and at the community level. We would trust people to do what they want, to learn. Esteva found that in Mexican 'radically de-schooled' communities, young people quickly grew bored of mindless activity and began to pursue the natural inclination to learn. When I was in my last year of high school, we were exempted from classes if we attained certain test grades, and by the end of that year we had learned to learn from each other and from the real world, away from classrooms and teachers, so well that our 'de-schooled' group won almost all the scholarships.
* It would be based on apprenticeship (which literally means 'grasping', 'understanding'), learning by observation of those acknowledged by the learner as having exceptional capability, and on practice (literally, 'becoming better').
* It would be playful, joyful, fun.
* Skills like literacy and numeracy would be learned in the context of apprenticeship and practice, not as separate 'subjects'.
* The entrepreneurs and artisans from whom we learn would not be paid, but would know that they would eventually be rewarded for what they showed others, what Esteva calls receiving a 'cooperación'.
* The role of those who care about learning would be creating tools that make learning easier and more powerful.
* The activities of selected mentors would be primarily listening, facilitation and, when requested, coaching.
* A key objective of the process would be achieving autonomy, freedom from dependence, self-sufficiency.
* Another objective would be cultural regeneration -- relearning local (connected to place) skills that have been forgotten.
* The process would be improvisational and evolutionary, not planned or designed.
* It would be based on growing hopefulness, not raising expectations or achieving goals.
* It would entail renouncing those technologies and other obstacles that impede true friendship, which is essential for collaboration and learning to make a living together.

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