Saturday, November 15, 2014

If a student learns....

There is an old philosophical thought experiment that has attributed to philosopher George Berkeley: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”  
Our subjective realities are references to the lives we live.  We see and hear things based on our preferences and expectations.
Every teacher knows how hard it is to help students to learn new concepts, if they have very strong misconceptions about the topic.  Similarly, our own observations may be clouded by preconceived ideas, and we sometimes forget how much students learn  while they are not taught. Or, sometimes even in spite of the teacher (this was a common joke among the faculty in the school I taught in Finland, and I still think how a good dose of self-irony sometimes saves the day ).
In education a common misconception is to believe that significant learning only happens when students are taught.  In reality students are born learning machines, they learn all the time, everywhere. But teachers are needed to enhance those individual learning experiences and help students to dive deeper into the subject or the area of their interest. Documenting and testing should not be the primary focus of teaching.
Yet, in today’s world we are very busy in documenting all kind of things: taking pictures and videos of events to make memories, and sharing them in social media.  A common joke is to question whether a *thing* really happened, if nobody posted it into social media. This may be the modern version of the falling tree thought experiment.
But how about teaching and learning?
I sure hope nobody is seriously asking this:

If learn

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Releasing the Magic!: HOW DO WE BUILD BRILLIANT?

Reblogging from:

Releasing the Magic!: HOW DO WE BUILD BRILLIANT?: It is strange that so many people believe that you create great schools simply by wheeling in the 'best' headteachers, changing the ...

To me it is fascinating how simple the basic concept of building brilliant (or successful) education is: collaborate, be constructive and focus on adding cognitive tools for students' disposal. Why is it then so hard to achieve....?