recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : howwlearn   9

BMCM+AC Bookstore on Instagram: ““I arrived [at BMC] with a suitcase full of 'peasant' blouses and dirndl skirts, as well as an evening gown, run up for me in Guatemalan…”
“I arrived [at BMC] with a suitcase full of 'peasant' blouses and dirndl skirts, as well as an evening gown, run up for me in Guatemalan cotton by a gay man in the Village. The gown was for 'proms,' events I assumed were an essential part of going away to college. I soon realized that my clothes were totally unsuited for life on a mountain, where the costume de rigueur was Levis, a tee-shirt and bare feet.” -Harriet Sohmers Zwerling⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Cheers to a casual weekend from BMC!⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Photo: Charlie Boyce, Charlotte Robinson and Nancy Miller, Fall 1948. Courtesy of the Western Regional Archives/State Archives of Western North Carolina.⁠
blackmountaincollege  bmc  clothing  clothes  harrietsohmerszwerling  howwlearn  levis  tees  t-shirts  uniform 
10 weeks ago by robertogreco
Here's What Teens Say They Need
"Educators are trained to provide students with the help they need to thrive both academically and socially. We even have the firsthand knowledge and experience of having been teenagers ourselves. It's important, however, to recognize that our experiences may be, and most likely are, very different from what our students experience today. For that reason, we must ask students about their experiences and use their perspectives to inform our approach to teaching and leading. I recently interviewed over 40 teens in grades 6 through 12 and asked them, "What do you need from schools to feel supported both academically and socially?" I share their responses, both honest and illuminating, here.

Finding #1: Teens want explicit proof that the adults in their lives know them as individuals.

Teachers who take the time to learn about their students as individuals send a clear message that they care about them. Students say the best teachers " really care … and actually want to help the students rather than just stand up and give a lesson," (11th grader). "I know I learn better with teachers I like, teachers I feel I can trust," (9th grader). Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Teens want teachers to know about their learning styles, their interests, and what causes them stress. Differentiation and flexibility are key components of classrooms where students feel like the adults in their lives have their best interests at heart.

• Teens want teachers to work together as a team; they want adults to talk to each other about the amount of work that is expected in each class. "We have seven or eight hours of school, then after-school sports, and then we have three hours of homework" (9th grader). Teens want schools to intentionally create and maintain structures that lead to a more balanced workload.

• Face-to-face communication is the most powerful way to build relationships. Teens want adults to initiate regular check-ins with them.

• Teachers must demonstrate they believe in their students. "Don't stereotype kids … keep an open mind," (9th grader).

Finding #2: Teens want easily accessible resources.

Students said knowing where and when to find help was a key component in feeling supported. One senior said being able to "get connected with who you need and having a lot of resources" was one way his school helped him succeed. The following recommendations are related to this finding:

• Schools should have designated and well-advertised physical spaces for students to go to when they need help. Teens appreciate help centers that are staffed with adults who can assist before, during, and after school hours with homework, friend issues, and other problems.

• Schools should build time into the schedule for students to meet with teachers outside of regular class time.

• Teachers should provide online resources for all classes so that students who need additional support can access the information. This was especially important for students when they had been absent from class.

• Adults should step in when they see students struggling if the teens do not initiate the conversation. "I'm really bad about going to an adult and saying, 'I need help with this' because it feels like I'm asking too much," (7th grader).

Finding #3: Teens demand authentic, meaningful work.

Teens are savvy. They know when an assignment is busy work. "They [teachers] should give you more important homework that actually focuses on the topic," (8th grader). Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Problem-based learning makes a greater impact on depth and retention of learning. Teens want more hands-on activities and assignments where they can explore creative endeavors.

• Work should employ multiple strategies and allow for individuality. Teens want teachers to spend time exploring the different strategies so that they can feel confident about deciding which strategies to use and when.

• Classrooms need to be interactive and teacher lecture needs to be kept to a minimum; otherwise, "they're just saying things at you," (11th grader).

• Teenagers want adults to focus less on grades. "Instead of focusing on the process of learning, they [teachers] only care about the execution and grade you receive about it," (9th grader).

Finding #4: Teenagers crave human interaction.

Between schoolwork and busy schedules, "there's not a lot of time hang out with your friends," say several 9th graders. Recommendations related to this finding include the following:

• Teens want more time for collaboration and group work with their peers.

• Social media means teens have many friends online, but younger teens say they struggle to socialize with those same friends face-to-face and want schools to teach them this skill.

• Schools should create structured opportunities for teens to socialize with the entire school community and to "bond" with students outside their typical social groups.

Finding #5: Teens want the opportunity to fail.

"Kids have to learn how to do it themselves. When we go out into the real world, we're not going to have adults there helping us. We're going to have to do it ourselves," (7th grader). The following recommendations are related to this finding:

• Adults should create safe spaces, activities, and opportunities that allow teens to work through a process independently.

• Adults should avoid stepping in too soon, or too often, to assist struggling students, because teens need the time and practice to learn to work together.

Whether the thoughts of my students or your own inform your practice, remember: if we're really doing what's best for teens, then we need to listen to their voices. Just asking teens, "how can I help?" or "what do you need from me?" is the first step in determining what teens need from schools.
teens  youth  2019  jodymarberry  relationships  respect  teaching  howweteach  authenticity  work  learning  howwelearn  social  socialmedia  failure  howwlearn  education  schools  middleschool  highschool 
may 2019 by robertogreco
The Myth of the Superhero Leader - Educational Leadership
"They can't fly, but they can leap tall obstacles—if they stay balanced.

In light of the many feats we ask principals to perform as instructional leaders—like guiding teachers to improve student outcomes and arranging for teachers' continued learning, all while overseeing budgets, placating parents, and addressing student behavior and mental health needs—principals might wonder if their job description should also include leap tall buildings in a single bound. Is the widespread notion of principals as instructional leaders tantamount to asking them to be superhuman? Where did this idea of principal as hero come from, anyway?

Origins of Instructional Leadership

By most accounts, the concept of instructional leadership emerged in the 1970s, when researchers began to study so-called effective schools—high-poverty schools that were performing better than expected—and noted a common feature: Leaders focused on instruction. That is, principals were instructional leaders. In the ensuring years, scholars proposed dueling lists of key traits for instructional leadership.

As the lists grew, so did questions, including whether it was humanly possible to be an instructional leader. How could anyone, short of a bite from a radioactive spider, do everything scholars, superintendents, and policymakers expected of principals? Some scholars, like Leithwood (1992), questioned the roots of the concept, noting that it emerged from studies of a particular type of school (turnaround schools) whose leaders focused on boosting standardized test scores in a top-down way. What about the rest of schools, including those that were good but could be better? Might they need a different kind of leadership, one that could, say, inspire people to change by rallying around a shared moral purpose? Thus, a new concept, transformational leadership, was born—along with lists and surveys to define and measure it (Bass & Avolio, 1994).

Which Leadership Behaviors Matter Most?

By the early 2000s, researchers hoped to cut through the proliferation of lists by using scientific (or at least quantitative) methods to pin down more precisely which leadership behaviors had the most impact on student achievement. One meta-analysis of 37 published studies (Witziers, Bosker, & Kruger, 2003), found no significant link between principals' scores on a measure of leader effectiveness and the performance of those principals' schools. Yet a McREL meta-analysis drawing upon a sample of 70 studies identified 21 leadership responsibilities with links to student achievement that reflected elements of both instructional and transformational leadership (Waters, Marzano, & McNulty, 2003).

A few years later, in a meta-analysis of 27 studies, Australian researchers (Robinson, Lloyd, & Rowe, 2008) found that instructional leadership behaviors, such as actively engaging in teacher learning and guiding curriculum planning and enactment, had three to four times the effect size of transformational leadership behaviors. This finding prompted the researchers to conclude that "the closer leaders are to the core business of teaching and learning, the more likely they are to make a difference to students" (p. 636). Nonetheless, they noted that while transformational leadership behaviors like building school culture and fostering shared purpose weren't as strongly tied to student achievement, they still had significant effects, and thus might be "necessary but not sufficient" (p. 666) for improving school performance.

This phrase might apply to most, if not all, leadership behaviors. In fact, the one thing we might glean from studies of school leadership is that the best leaders demonstrate a wide array of behaviors, playing not one but many roles, which I've identified as:

• Visionary: Seeing new possibilities and inspiring others to pursue stretch goals.
• Learner: Modeling intellectual inquiry by reflecting on data and learning with teachers.
• Commander: Turning vision to action by aligning resources and accountability to goals.
• Connector: Creating a positive culture that empowers teachers to learn from each other.

Send in the Architects

In practice, these four roles likely reflect both natural traits and learned behaviors, so some leaders may slide more easily into certain roles and need to "lean in" to others. Yet, as a recent study suggests, the most effective leaders balance all four. British researchers Alex Hill and colleagues (2016) analyzed the behaviors of hundreds of school principals in the United Kingdom. They identified five leadership "personalities" that produce markedly different results:

• Philosophers seem most comfortable in the visionary and connector roles. They talk a good game about new ways of teaching and empowering teachers, yet often fail to translate vision into action.

• Surgeons are comfortable in commander mode. They quickly size up problems, remove ineffective teachers, and bring in new programs and routines to boost test results. School performance initially improves, but levels off after a couple years due a lack of investment in teacher learning.

• Soldiers are no-nonsense commanders of a different sort; they focus on trimming fat from school budgets, automating processes, and tightening the screws to get teachers to work harder. (As one such leader put it, "If you cut resources, people have to change!") School finances improve, but little else. Morale tanks.

• Accountants serve as commanders and connectors. They busy themselves with bringing new resources to the school and avoid ruffling feathers by giving teachers latitude in using resources. The financial picture improves, but little else changes.

Only one leadership personality, the architect, delivers sustained improvement—by balancing all four roles. In the words of the researchers, "they're insightful, humble, visionary leaders who believe schools fail because they're poorly designed," so they work with teachers to develop a collaborative school vision and engage directly in professional learning, coaching, mentoring, and peer collaboration. "In many ways," noted the researchers, "they combine the best parts of the other leaders."

With an architect at the helm, gains come slowly at first, but about three years in, performance begins to improve—and keeps improving. Notably, architects are unassuming leaders who seek few accolades, preferring to recede into the background. As one put it, "No one should notice when I leave the room." Thus, these balanced leaders seem to debunk the myth of principals as superheroes by demonstrating that the best leaders are those who create conditions for everyone else to be everyday heroes."
2019  leadership  administration  schools  education  slow  bryangoodwin  behavior  balance  humility  vision  howwlearn 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Why I became a philosophy teacher: to get children thinking about the big ideas in life | Teacher Network | The Guardian
"The emphasis on knowledge in schools led Steve Hoggins to take up philosophy teaching and encourage more thinking and questioning in the classroom"



"I failed all my A-levels apart from one E grade in English. I had moved schools for sixth form and my priority was trying to be cool and having loads of friends. I spent more time in pubs underage drinking than doing my home work. I thought my life was over, then Lampeter University threw me a lifeline and said I could do a one-year diploma and then go on to do a degree but, by a strange administrative error, I ended up doing the degree straight away anyway.

My own experience of education means I can really relate to young people at both secondary and primary level who don't want to do something because they are told to do it. I can also understand and admire the brilliance of young minds who find a way to get round rules and still get to do what they want. These kids resonate with me."



"
In my final placement at a school in Bradninch in Devon I worked with a great year 6 teacher who was into doing critical thinking and I started experimenting with Socratic questioning. That same week I read a magazine article about Pete Worley from the Philosophy Foundation describing using philosophy in class. I remember thinking: "That's it! There's a philosophy shaped hole in the curriculum." We focus so much on knowledge, there isn't enough thinking going on.

So after my PGCE I came down to London and did a course with the Philosophy Foundation. I did my teaching practice at Rathfern Primary school in south east London, working at first with a year 6 class. The headteacher watched me delivering the session and encouraged me to apply for a full-time job as a class teacher to complete my NQT year.

So I started teaching a year 4-5 class. It was the worst year of my life. I was living alone without any network of friends or family and I found the work so hard. All the boxes to tick were a huge problem for me. Part of me said I can't do it and another part said the children shouldn't have to do it and I generally just fell to pieces.

I failed some lesson observations and the head was worried I'd fail my NQT year. I thought I should just leave the school but the head suggested I try working in early years and foundation stage (EYFS). I didn't know what else to do, so I took up the head's offer.

Teaching in EYFS was one of the best experiences of my teaching life. When you mark work of older children you do so on levels of certain criteria. So if you have a piece of writing that has terrible spelling, no connectives, no capital letters you have to give it a terrible grade, even though in its concept the piece of writing really made you think and was fascinating. The ideas in it can't be graded. I found that so depressing and frustrating.

But in EYFS you can approach a child anywhere, not just at the table; for example, at the water tray and ask questions and they can explore ideas. It's a lot more fluid, and you can find opportunities to hit the objectives."



"The first lesson I ever did with the year 8 and 9s at Harris Aspire was awful, they ground me to dust. But my work there is going from strength to strength. We've been able to cover really difficult issues in a really intense way, from beating children to whether we should obey laws and rules, so it's in a real-life context. My work in primary schools stays fun and friendly.

The effect on children of doing philosophy sessions is huge. The most obvious change is confidence in speaking out in front of a group. Children aren't expected to know the answer or to correctly guess the teacher's ideas. That's a big change from ordinary lessons. If you know something because the teacher has told you or because you read it in a book you can say it quite confidently. But when children can give a set of reasons for something that they've worked though, discussed and thought for themselves that gives an entirely different level of confidence.

I want to carry on doing this, my dream is for every child to do philosophy. Getting people thinking is a massive thing with life changing and potentially world changing consequences."
sfsh  education  teaching  pedagogy  learning  howwlearn  unschooling  deschooling  philosophy  stevehoggins  2013  classideas  writing  teachingwriting  howweteach  howwelearn 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Learning Gardens
[See also: https://www.are.na/blog/case%20study/2016/11/16/learning-gardens.html
https://www.are.na/edouard-u/learning-gardens ]

"Learning Gardens is a meta-organization to support grassroots non-institutional learning, exploration, and community-building.

At its simplest, this means we want to help you start and run your own learning group.

At its best, we hope you and your friends achieve nirvana."



"Our Mission

It's difficult to carve out time for focused study. We support learning groups in any discipline to overcome this inertia and build their own lessons, community, and learning styles.
If we succeed in our mission, participating groups should feel empowered and free of institutional shackles.

Community-based learning — free, with friends, using public resources — is simply a more sustainable and distributed form of learning for the 21st century. Peer-oriented and interest-driven study often fosters the best learning anyway.

Learning Gardens is an internet-native organization. As such, we seek to embrace transparency, decentralization, and multiple access points."



"Joining

Joining us largely means joining our slack. Say hello!

If you own or participate in your own learning group, we additionally encourage you to message us for further information.

Organization

We try to use tools that are free, open, and relatively transparent.

Slack to communicate and chat.
Github and Google Drive to build public learning resources.

You're welcome to join and assemble with us on Are.na, which we use to find and collect research materials. In a way, Learning Gardens was born from this network.

We also use Notion and Dropbox internally."



"Our lovely learning groups:

Mondays [http://mondays.nyc/ ]
Mondays is a casual discussion group for creative thinkers from all disciplines. Its simple aim is to encourage knowledge-sharing and self-learning by providing a space for the commingling of ideas, for reflective conversations that might otherwise not be had.

Pixel Lab [http://morgane.com/pixel-lab ]
A community of indie game devs and weird web artists — we're here to learn from each other and provide feedback and support for our digital side projects.

Emulating Intelligence [https://github.com/learning-gardens/_emulating_intelligence ]
EI is a learning group organized around the design, implementation, and implications of artificial intelligence as it is increasingly deployed throughout our lives. We'll weave together the theoretical, the practical, and the social aspects of the field and link it up to current events, anxieties, and discussions. To tie it all together, we'll experiment with tools for integrating AI into our own processes and practices.

Cybernetics Club [https://github.com/learning-gardens/cybernetics-club ]
Cybernetics Club is a learning group organized around the legacy of cybernetics and all the fields it has touched. What is the relevance of cybernetics today? Can it provide us the tools to make sense of the world today? Better yet, can it give us a direction for improving things?

Pedagogy Play Lab [http://ryancan.build/pedagogy-play-lab/ ]
A reading club about play, pedagogy, and learning meeting biweekly starting soon in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

[http://millennialfocusgroup.info/ ]
monthly irl discussion. 4 reading, collaborating, presenting, critiquing, and hanging vaguely identity-oriented, creatively-inclined, internet-aware, structurally-experimental networked thinking <<<>>> intersectional thinking

Utopia School [http://www.utopiaschool.org/ ]
Utopia School is an ongoing project that shares information about both failed and successful utopian projects and work towards new ones. For us, utopias are those spaces and initiatives that re-imagine the world in some crucial way. The school engages and connects people through urgent conversations, with the goal of exploring, archiving and distributing collective knowledge throughout this multi-city project.

A Pattern Language [https://github.com/learning-gardens/pattern_language ]
Biweekly reading group on A Pattern Language, attempting to reinterpret the book for the current-day."

[See also: "Getting Started with Learning Gardens: An introduction of sorts"
http://learning-gardens.co/2016/08/13/getting_started.html

"Hi, welcome to this place.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering where to start! Try sifting through some links on our site, especially our resources, Github Organization, and Google Drive.

If you’re tired of reading docs and this website in general, we’d highly recommend you join our lively community in real time chat. We’re using Slack for this. It’s great.

When you enter the chat, you’ll be dumped in a channel called #_landing_pad. This channel is muted by default so that any channels you join feel fully voluntary.

We’ve recently started a system where we append any ”Learning Gardens”-related channels with an underscore (_), so it’s easy to tell which channels are meta (e.g. #_help), and which are related to actual learning groups (e.g. #cybernetics).

Everything is up for revision." ]
education  learninggardens  learningnetworks  networks  slack  aldgdp  artschools  learning  howwlearn  sfsh  self-directed  self-directedlearning  empowerment  unschooling  deschooling  decentralization  transparency  accessibility  bookclubs  readinggroups  utopiaschool  apatternlanguage  christopheralexander  pedagogy  pedagogyplaylab  cyberneticsclub  emulatingintelligence  pixellab  games  gaming  videogames  mondays  creativity  multidisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  interdisciplinary  ai  artificialintelligence  distributed  online  web  socialmedia  édouardurcades  artschool 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Learning Despite School — LifeLearn — Medium
"While organised education and deliberate, goal-oriented practice has its place, and is indeed critical, it needs to be balanced with the development of social competence and intrinsic motivation. The vast majority of learning happens in informal social situations within communities of like minded people, where individuals take initiative and learn to work with other people in meaningful settings. Schools may hinder this important avenue of growth and increase stress and anxiety.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” ~ Lao Tzu.

The role of informal learning

The importance of informal learning in all areas of life cannot be overstated. For anyone observing people going about their life, it is obvious that every waking moment (and indeed, also sleeping moments) presents experiences which shape our brains, and thus, learning happens. Historically, informal learning has been off the spotlights since it is more difficult to study than organised forms of education. However, during the 21st century, surveys have shown that the majority of learning happens in informal settings[1], and even governmental policies have changed to encourage informal learning[4].

Learning within workplaces can be divided into non-formal and informal learning. If these terms are unfamiliar, here are short definitions:

• Formal education is highly institutionalised, bureaucratic, curriculum driven, and formally recognised with grades, diplomas, or certificates.[1]

• Non-formal learning is organised learning outside of the formal education system.[1]

• Informal learning occurs in community, where individuals have opportunities to observe and participate in social activities.[2]

The clear majority of learning within workplaces is informal[3], even though companies spend huge resources on non-formal training of their employees.

Likewise it can be argued that a large portion of learning that happens in schools stems from informal activities, such as social interactions during recess. The magnitude of this informal learning clearly depends on how strictly pupils and their time use are controlled by the faculty. Most resources in educational systems are spent in the advancement of formal education.

How Finnish schools enable informal learning

Finnish primary schools consistently rank high in various international studies, and produce excellent educational outcomes. While there are several reasons behind the success of Finnish schools, one of their typical features is the large amount of free time pupils are given.

• For every 45 minutes of class time, 15 minutes of recess are provided. Recess is free undirected time, usually spent outdoors.

• 30–45 minutes are reserved each day for lunch, provided by the school.

• Children enter school the year they turn 7, giving them more years of free childhood than in most other educational systems.

• School days are short, starting with 4–5 hours in the lower grades, and growing to 6–8 in higher grades.

• The amount of homework is light, usually between 0–4 hours per week.

• Classroom time often includes group work, project work, and personalised learning activities.

All this generates lots of time in children’s lives where they can independently (or with partial guidance) decide what to do, explore their surroundings, and experience new things. All of this is informal learning and it can cultivate skills such as independence, critical thinking, accountability, social competence, self-efficacy, metacognition, time management, planning, and emotional intelligence.

Balancing academic, social and physical development

Finnish studies on pupils’ hobbies and free time use show that the constructive and positive spirit in classrooms increases as pupils spend more of their free time with each other; as their classmates become closer friends, motivation to attend classes increases; and continuing into higher education is more likely. Results also highlight the importance of non-programmed time, where teens are not supposed to do anything or achieve something. Exploration and experimentation are important. Creative crossing of boundaries of accepted behaviour is also important for the teens’ ethical development.[5] Social competence even as early as age 5 has been shown to be connected with adult life quality and productivity[8].

The effects of physical exercise to cognitive capacity and ability to focus are clear and are changing even workplace practices (e.g. walking meetings). Studies of Finnish students have shown that physical exercise has a positive effect on learning and cognitive functions, such as memory and executive functions, and can possibly affect academic achievement[6].

On the other hand, it is clear that to develop top talent in any field (including sports), young people need a balance of training, competition, and free play and exploration. Focusing too early on serious practice activities that are not enjoyable will damage intrinsic motivation[7].

In countries where schools control their pupils more strictly, opportunities for informal learning are diminished. Children then tend to focus their interests and motivation on their hobbies that happen after school. In some countries, children spend nearly all their waking hours on formal learning tasks, which may produce good academic outcomes, but limits severely the benefits that informal learning could provide. Finnish schools show that an approach that emphasises children’s natural tendencies for exploration and learning, can also provide excellent academic results.

Summary

A clear majority of learning for any individual happens in informal settings. While formal education and on-the-job training play a role, they will be more effective if they can acknowledge and accommodate informal learning that individuals will engage in regardless. In practice this means at least giving time for non-directed social activities, reflection, and physical activities. In addition, utilising learners’ own life interests in making formal training more engaging and relevant will increase learning outcomes significantly. Combining formal and informal is at the core of learner-centric approaches."
education  unschooling  deschooling  learning  informal  informallearning  schools  social  training  finland  play  competition  freeplay  howwlearn  howweteach  teaching  hobbies  constructivism  experimentation  2016  schedules  time  independence  timemanagement  planning  criticalthinking  accountability  metacognition  laotzu  tarmotoikkanen  competence  motivation  stress  anxiety 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Learning how to learn
"Bateson himself uses the analogy of movement:

• Learning 0 is direct experience: I put my hand in the fire – it gets burned

Learning 0 is like the position of an object

• Learning I is what we routinely refer to as "learning": generalisation from basic experiences. I have experienced "hand in fire" and "being burned", and I won't do it again. This is straightforward and compatible even with behavioural views, as well as the cycle of experiential learning.

Learning I is its speed when it moves

• Learning II (which he sometimes called "Deutero-Learning") contextualises Learning I experiences. It is about developing strategies for maximising Learning I through the extraction of implicit rules, and also putting specific bits of Learning I in context: I don't generally risk getting burned, but I might do so to save someone else from a fire.

Learning II is acceleration (or deceleration)—a change in speed

• Learning III contextualises Learning II, and is not understood, but it may be the existential (or spiritual) level: What does it say about me that I would risk getting burned in order to ...?

Learning III is a change in the rate of acceleration — a change in the change of the change of position... The higher the level, the less we understand about the process, and although such higher level learning undoubtedly takes place, the more difficult it is deliberately to manage it.

Note that levels of learning are different from levels of understanding, as exemplified in Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives, and also to be distinguished from the similar terminology of Gagné.

This account does not do justice to Bateson's very complex thinking, which starts from posing the question why people get better with practice at doing fairly meaningless tasks such as remembering nonsense syllables.
The interesting question for academic practice is the qualitative shift required to move from Learning 1 to Learning II, which some people find more difficult than others, perhaps in specific subject areas. How do we help them to achieve it? This may be the biggest remaining problem in in pedagogic/andragogic practice.

Some clues are contained in

• reflection, in
• problem-based learning and action learning,
• situated learning,
• and even in intelligence,

but we still don't have reliable answers.

Rant

This is more properly located on my personal site, but I can't contain myself. In the UK, we have this misbegotten, patronising, arrogant, (insert whatever other insulting adjectives you favour) idea of "teaching" "key skills" at college level.

"Key skills"—derived from the generic skills employers say that they want—include "Communication" and "Application of Number" [the comparative of "numb"—sorry, but I am ranting] (what are the schools supposed to have been teaching for eleven years before students reach further education?) and "teamworking" and "improving own learning" etc.

Note that I refer above to "the generic skills employers say that they want"; there is some evidence, which I can't presently be bothered to look up, which suggests that there is a mismatch between what employers actually go for when appointing their staff, and what they say they go for when asked by trade and official bodies.
What is more, it is routine for universities to require the specification of key skills outcomes on the templates even for post-graduate courses. How patronising and infantilising can you get? Fortunately, most academics treat such requirements with the contempt they deserve.

It has been my misfortune for several years to have to observe some very gifted student teachers wrestling with the thankless task of getting learners to provide evidence of "key skills" competence. They have stopped an animated discussion in class, for example, to get students to "discuss"—in a very desultory fashion—some topic in which they have no interest whatever, in order to be able to tick a box on a competence check-list. It is even more stupid than the idea of "Liberal Studies", which is where I started my teaching career: at least that was "high-minded" in its conception.

What the education control-freaks fail to realise is that some things are only learned by experience and practice. You can't short-circuit the process by teaching them.

Rant over! The relevance of this to the present topic is that the "soft" key skills project confuses Learning I and Learning II: you cannot address the key skills (which are Learning II) by simply adding on more Learning I competences: this is precisely the "category error" against which Bateson inveighs But the key skills advocates (and here I risk alienating my closest colleague and friend) seem to believe that all skills are at the same level. "Application of Number", and IT skills may be Learning I, but the "wider" key skills ("Working with Others", "Problem Solving", "Improving Own Learning and Performance") and even the central key skill of "Communication"—which includes the "discussion" requirement—are clearly Learning II, and although we know they can be learned, we do not know how to teach them in any meaningful way."
gregorybateson  learning  howwlearn  jamesatherton  2013  problemsolving  actionlearning  situatedlearning  reflection  intelligence  context  transcontextualism  bloomstaxonomy  education  experientiallearning  behavior  transcontextualization 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Kids, the Holocaust, and "inappropriate" play
"On a strong recommendation from Meg, I have been reading Peter Gray's Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life. Gray is a developmental psychologist and in Free to Learn he argues that 1) children learn primarily through self-directed play (by themselves and with other children), and 2) our current teacher-driven educational system is stifling this instinct in our kids, big-time.

I have a lot to say about Free to Learn (it's fascinating), but I wanted to share one of the most surprising and unsettling passages in the book. In a chapter on the role of play in social and emotional development, Gray discusses play that might be considered inappropriate, dangerous, or forbidden by adults: fighting, violent video games, climbing "too high", etc. As part of the discussion, he shares some of what George Eisen uncovered while writing his book, Children and Play in the Holocaust.
In the ghettos, the first stage in concentration before prisoners were sent off to labor and extermination camps, parents tried desperately to divert their children's attention from the horrors around them and to preserve some semblance of the innocent play the children had known before. They created makeshift playgrounds and tried to lead the children in traditional games. The adults themselves played in ways aimed at psychological escape from their grim situation, if they played at all. For example, one man traded a crust of bread for a chessboard, because by playing chess he could forget his hunger. But the children would have none of that. They played games designed to confront, not avoid, the horrors. They played games of war, of "blowing up bunkers," of "slaughtering," of "seizing the clothes of the dead," and games of resistance. At Vilna, Jewish children played "Jews and Gestapomen," in which the Jews would overpower their tormenters and beat them with their own rifles (sticks).

Even in the extermination camps, the children who were still healthy enough to move around played. In one camp they played a game called "tickling the corpse." At Auschwitz-Birkenau they dared one another to touch the electric fence. They played "gas chamber," a game in which they threw rocks into a pit and screamed the sounds of people dying. One game of their own devising was modeled after the camp's daily roll call and was called klepsi-klepsi, a common term for stealing. One playmate was blindfolded; then one of the others would step forward and hit him hard on the face; and then, with blindfold removed, the one who had been hit had to guess, from facial expressions or other evidence, who had hit him. To survive at Auschwitz, one had to be an expert at bluffing -- for example, about stealing bread or about knowing of someone's escape or resistance plans. Klepsi-klepsi may have been practice for that skill.

Gray goes on to explain why this sort of play is so important:
In play, whether it is the idyllic play we most like to envision or the play described by Eisen, children bring the realities of their world into a fictional context, where it is safe to confront them, to experience them, and to practice ways of dealing with them. Some people fear that violent play creates violent adults, but in reality the opposite is true. Violence in the adult world leads children, quite properly, to play at violence. How else can they prepare themselves emotionally, intellectually, and physically for reality? It is wrong to think that somehow we can reform the world for the future by controlling children's play and controlling what they learn. If we want to reform the world, we have to reform the world; children will follow suit. The children must, and will, prepare themselves for the real world to which they must adapt to survive.

Like I said, fascinating."

[Reminds me of this Umberto Eco quote about gun play: http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/post/22672508/stefano-my-boy-i-will-give-you-guns-because-a

"Stefano, my boy, I will give you guns. Because a gun isn’t a game. It is the inspiration for play. With it you will have to invent a situation, a series of relationships, a dialectic of events. You will have to shout boom, and you will discover that the game has only the value you give it, not what is built into it. As you imagine you are destroying enemies, you will be satisfying an ancestral impulse that boring civilization will never be able to extinguish, unless it turns you into a neurotic always taking Rorschach tests administered by the company psychologist. But you will find that destroying enemies is a convention of play, a game like so many others, and thus you will learn that it is outside reality, and as you play, you will be aware of the game’s limits. You will work off anger and repressions, and then be ready to receive other messages, which contemplate neither death nor destruction. Indeed, it is important that death and destruction always appear to you as elements of fantasy, like Red Riding Hood’s wolf, whom we all hated, to be sure, but without subsequently harboring an irrational hatred for Alsatians."]
children  play  simulation  petergray  2015  holocaust  wwii  ww2  learning  howwlearn  playtolearn  unschooling  deschooling  violence  umbertoeco  georgeeisen  psychology  developmentalpsychology  videogames  gaming  danger  auschwitz  practice  reality  imagination  survival  fiction  control  teaching  schools  schooling  parenting 
january 2015 by robertogreco
On BERG's hibernation
"Today BERG Cloud (Formerly BERG, formerly Schulze and Webb) announced it was shutting shop. I spent about 2 years all together working for or with BERG, so I wanted to share some thoughts on my time there. All of this is purely from my point of view, is not official, and I am certain the others would have differing opinions.

I never went to university, but after working with BERG on Mag+ my interest in interaction design grew. I nearly applied for the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design but when BERG offered me a full time position, my recurring theme of choosing experience over formal education got the better of me. And it was not a mistake.

To describe a company as a family is incredibly cheesy, but of everywhere I’ve worked it applies most to BERG. My favourite times were definitely on Scrutton Street, when the 13 (or there about) of us were squeezed into an office far too small for us. We had an airport express that anyone could play tunes on, and only one conversation could really happen at once. Of course there were times we would rub each other the wrong way, but one thing that never wavered was the immense respect I had for everyone.

This enabled us to work in a way I’ve never seen anywhere else, and what I half-jokingly dubbed ‘emotion driven development’. If Kanban is the more fluid state of a trusted and able team compared to scrum, then what we had was a step beyond that. We trusted in our own, and importantly each others, strong opinions and (this sounds cheesy again) feelings to drive us forward. This is probably a fragile and unscalable way of working, but without it, I think much of the work would be very different, and BERG wouldn’t have attracted the attention it did. We worked in a different way, and the work was often different because of it.

BERG had an interesting cult following. It certainly punched way above its weight in the design world for such a small company. It was able to create work that turned the heads of both the industry and mass audiences alike. One thing I was always impressed with was how easily new aesthetics were created, something that others spend entire careers developing was almost effortless to my colleagues. Making Future Magic (a project I had nothing to do with) perhaps most exemplifies this.

I am now focusing on working in the public sector, and I went into much detail as to why, but I will always miss my time at BERG. For me it will always feel like my university time; a time to spend learning and experimenting on what we found interesting with very few constraints.

For a group of people who were professionals on thinking about “what’s next”, I think we’re a bit knocked back as we truly don’t know what’s next. It’s an interesting (and scary in a very high up Maslow’s hierarchy kind of way) time. BERG was a major part of East London’s tech culture, and its demise is another blow to it. I imagine there are plenty of people wondering where their friends are going next. I know I am."

[See also: http://morning.computer/2014/09/for-berg-my-london-launchpad/ ]
berg  berglondon  autodidacts  srg  experience  learningbydoing  jamesdarling  2014  design  howwework  tcsnmy  families  workenvironments  teams  respect  groups  howwlearn  learning  mattwebb  emotions  feelings  culture  workculture  creativity 
september 2014 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read