Learning to FLY...
…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. When we look at how many of our schools, colleges and universities “do business”, we see that many of them still have not “got” this – this is also true of many parents, too. This “obsession” with packaging teaching, as Claxton reminds us, essentially stems from our focus on the “4Rs” of education:
Remembering, Reasoning, Reciting and Regurgitating. Not, a focus on helping our learners to upgrade their talents in terms of “new 4Rs” of conventional wisdom in learning today:
Resilience, Resourcefulness, Reflectiveness and Reciprocy. Sadly, it’s still the case that most of our schools, colleges and universities want to “produce” good students – rather than good learners. There's a big difference! All of Claxton’s elements are about how people “experience” the act of learning – just as I wanted to step onto the open deck on “my Sea Bus”. Yes, it would have been “messy” – but I would have “felt” it and I would have been far more “engaged” in my round of ferry-hopping. Actually, I loved my trip to İstanbul – the sea-bus trip was a minor “blip” (as was getting stuck in rush-hour traffic). That’s life! Thinking about the plane journey into İstanbul and my trips across the Bosphorus reminded me of a story I once heard (and apologies to whoever told me this as I can’t remember where I heard it). There was a group of experienced, certified airline pilots taking a 4-week training course to learn how to fly a new type of aircraft. The pilots had to commit to a 100% attendance requirement, do a series of “homework” exercises – and then pass a written test at the end of the programme. One pilot (the most experienced) missed a few sessions (his wife was having their first baby), another attended all the sessions but missed a few of the homework assignments (because he spent his spare time sitting in the cockpit to get a better “feel” of the new plane), the third attended all the sessions and did all the assignments (but “failed” the written test as he was feeling a bit “under-the-weather” on the day of the test). All three “failed” the course – but 3 other pilots (with the least experience and who all enjoyed “messing about” in class – I wonder why they did this) passed the written test with flying colours!
I know which three I’d rather have flying my plane to İstanbul next time.