Tony Gurr

REAL Learning…

In The Paradigm Debate on 17/02/2011 at 9:36 am

A confession – I have been a bit of a “groupie” for the past few years!

When I read that it was “time” to leave behind the “old 4Rs” of education (Remembering, Reasoning, Reciting and Regurgitating) and get busy with the “new 4Rs” (Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocy) – I realized that Guy Claxton had said in only 8 words what I had spent thousands of pages trying to get across to people!

Claxton is highly critical of the way we “do business” in our schools today – and his mission is essentially all about narrowing the gap between the way learning is “done” in schools, and the way it is done in the “real world”.

He breathes life into the type of learning Carl Rogers always talked about:

I want to talk about learning. But not the lifeless, sterile, futile, quickly forgotten stuff that is crammed in to the mind of the poor helpless individual tied into his seat by ironclad bonds of conformity! 

I am talking about LEARNING – the insatiable curiosity that drives the adolescent boy to absorb everything he can see or hear or read about gasoline engines in order to improve the efficiency and speed of his ‘cruiser’. I am talking about the student who says, “I am discovering, drawing in from the outside, and making that which is drawn in a real part of me.”

I am talking about any learning in which the experience of the learner progresses along this line: “No, no, that’s not what I want”; “Wait! This is closer to what I am interested in, what I need”; “Ah, here it is! Now I’m grasping and comprehending what I need and what I want to know!”

Carl Rogers 1983: 18-19

Claxton reminds us that life is “messy” and notes that in real life people:

  • Watch each other and copy or adapt what they see.
  • They go off by themselves to practice “hard bits”.
  • They ask their own questions and select their own “teachers”.
  • They make scruffy notes and diagrams to help them think and plan.
  • They create half baked ideas and possibilities and try them out.
  • They run through things in their head imagining how things might play out.
  • They imagine themselves doing something better and use this to guide their practice.

NOW, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we saw this reflected in how we “do business” in our schools – and universities!

SO, three books you gotta read:

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