Educ: Knowing vs Doing LO7125

Ralph Krumdieck (ralphkru@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU)
Thu, 02 May 1996 08:11:06 -0700 (PDT)

Replying to LO7104 and others (also general state of education)

Mariann asked
> Now, what I'd like to hear more of, is how you-all think we can
> shift the educational culture, starting in our own classrooms, from the
> passive-learning, learning's-irrelevant-to-doing, boring to the excited
> and active engagement that is such a turn-on. I would like to find better
> ways to ignite self-directed learning - better ways to capture more of the
> students I see and infect them with a sense of their own responsibility
> for learning and the excitement of truly being in charge, even in the
> midst of a class where (I hope) the instructor has done a good bit of work
> to craft an experience that seems relevant and up-to-date, the content and
> theory apropos for managers, etc.

My perspective is somewhat limited on this, but perhaps will be
helpful. I homeschool my three children (ages 19, 14, and 8), and have
found that the key to self-directed learning begins with the learner's
interest. When the interest comes from within, the learning will follow by
hook or by crook, despite poor resources and even despite poor "teaching"
on my part (although I try to provide good resources and good teaching).
The hard part is to allow periods of disinterest--that is, boredom--while
they flounder around, or play at diversions, or daydream, or whatever. We
(our society) so seldom give children the space and permission to just be.
Sometimes that be-ing will be involved, excited, and active--and we
enhance learning by providing resources and encouragement. Sometimes that
be-ing will be uninvolved, undirected--and we enhance learning by allowing
that, too, and offering encouragement if necessary. ("It's okay to be
bored for a while. You'll figure out something in a while." or, if I'm
less patient, "If you're bored, how about washing the dishes?") I see a
major problem in education (and childrearing in general) as the drive to
entertain and distract our children from being who they are and exploring
what they want, what truly matters to them. How can you know what matters
to you if you're never encouraged/allowed to take the time to find out?
The entertainment approach can't be sustained all the way to college, and
many of the problems identified in this thread could be based on this
underlying attitude and its manifestations in students' expectations, in
my opinion.

And I guess I should introduce myself to the group, as I've been
an interested reader for several months without posting. My interest in
learning organizations comes from my work as an administrator/trainer in
an international breastfeeding support organization (La Leche League) as
well as my fascination with principles of family life and education. My
educational background rests on reading (Senge and Robert Fritz are
favorites, and I've greatly appreciated the many recommendations for
reading from list members) and three years of college (which I didn't
complete because I couldn't figure out what mattered to me). My oldest
child is now a college freshman (boy, do colleges like homeschooled
kids!--or at least some do), and I love to see how she has found her
interests/vision (music) and is charging ahead at finding that in college.

Thanks to you all for some wonderful reading and thinking.

Lynne Coates

-- (Lynne Coates)

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