Traditional education = fail?

This was first published as a part of a project called Edgeryders that was sprung from Council of Europe’s Early warning & social cohesion unit. Was published on the Edgeryders platform as input in a discourse on Education. October, 2012.

I’m writing a longer post on Alternative education that will be publish shortly. Republishing this to be able to refer back.


Whats the problem with education today?

I think we need more takes on how school can create free-thinking students rather than solutions to help people be a good obedient workforce.

  • Why is young people today find schooling unnecessary or uninteresting?
  • Is school preparing us to identify and solve complex problems creatively (ourselves or in group?) How can we solve that?
  • How can we transform the school system from a system that today create extrinsic motivation (based on rewards & grades) to a system where youngsters can keep, find & shape intrinsic motivation (curiosity, self-guided, self-motivation)?
  • How can school prepare people to adapt to many possible future scenarios? Not just for the current paradigm. And not just be flexible in the way current leaders or employers want?
  • How can we create a school that help students to understand themselves and how the can become citizens so they can be a part of society?
  • How can school today create students that solve tomorrows problems?

Smart ways of designing education

Alternative education as danish Kaospilots, swedish Hyper Island and indian Mirambika have interesting ways.

Divide classic roles of the teachers into:

  1. Facilitators of group based work. Can come in into groups to help with conflict management.
  2. Experts. Lecturer and workshop holders that are best within their fields come and give input to the students.
Illustration. Development of Teacher role’s

School work are often problem-based learning in groups.

  1. Self organised group work
  2. Input from experts (lecture or workshop format
  3. Process: feedback, evaluation and reflection Session with a facilitator.

The problem with the university today (I believe)

  • Lack of process follow-ups. Learn how to manage group work, give feedback, handle conflicts, learning based on reflection.
  • Too much extrinsic based. Grades.
  • Too formatted. You can’t be creative within the system. Take the APA formatting eg.
  • Focus on results and not learnings.
  • People do not dare to try the crazy because of grades. Therefore people safeguard and conform to the standards.

Policy makers should stop thinking education could be measure by quantification.

Deleuze talk about rhizome and that the brain don’t work as a tree but that new knowledge connects in many different ways. (the brain is not course based and linear…) an associated term is rhizomatic learning. -> mixing subjects, inter and cross disciplinary thinking. Building upon knowledge — the more you know the more connection points new knowledge can have. Using Systems thinking for example.

Illustration: Systems thinking.

As you said knowledge are more and more accessible. The Teachers role with lecturing have more and more became obsolete. The way alternative education uses teachers as facilitators are a better solution I think.

Other solutions

Teacher should help students to be navigators and explorers of knowledge, informed citizens and skilled actors in large and small groups.

  • Put metacognition on the agenda! Learning about learning. (Prof Stephen Heppell talks about 20% better learning)
  • Education in colaboration, conflict management (eg. feedback) & group dynamics.
  • Society today is more complex therefore we need less time on separate disciplins and more time on exploring and being interdisplinary. There’s where new thinking happens at the moment. Disciplines have been explored for 100 years now. The new things happen in the interdisciplinary and the interinterdisplimary.
Illustration. Extrinsic vs Intrinsic learning
Illustration:Disciplinary vs Interdisciplinary
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