“liberate learners from their dependency on being taught.”
We Need To Question Everything
Mike Crowley
353

Freedom, not Rigor

The only dependency learners have on being taught is the dependency created by public education built on the belief that learning requires teaching and that every “educated” person must know and be able to do the same things. Until we return the right and responsibility of authentic learning to children, our schools will continue to “produce” adults who have never learned to ask and answer their own questions…have become convinced that “right answers” are a sign of success…and are easily swayed by anyone who promises to “fix” their world for them. How can children become lifelong learners who can adapt to a future of which we can’t even conceive if they spend 12 years of their lives being told what, when, and how to learn?

There are a growing number of well-known researchers and educators, including Peter Gray and Yong Zhao, who believe that allowing learners to develop their unique abilities through largely self-directed learning may be the only way to foster needed for humans to evolve alongside technology, and to use technology as a tool rather than allowing it to become the master.

What then, should be the role of the teacher? To curate enriched learning environments in which children can continue to broaden their scope of learning in authentic ways as they have during the first years of their lives — to build nurturing, encouraging multi-age learning cultures in which students can ask their own questions, pursue their own answers, identify their passions, and grow in the knowledge that they have within them the power to change the world. As you say, traditional, one-size-fits-all education will NEVER do that. As long as adults continue to believe that they must force students to learn, we are much more likely to see the growth of the dystopia evident in our society.

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