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What is LEARNing?


The translation is in the "comments" section!8 A friend of mine is getting ready to deliver a presentation to a group of parents on how they can best help their kids with school and homework. We've been brainstorming ideas on the types of things she can do and I've been suggesting that she get them active, involved and questioning - you know with activities, games and reflective discussions (rather than the typical "edumercial lectures" parents get at things like this - when they do actually happen). Makes sense, yes? - Getting them to "live" LEARNing - rather than telling them about it. 8 This morning I stumbled on a post that almost made me re-think the advice I had been giving my friend. The post was written by Phil Cullen (a guiding light on the Australian "Treehorn Express" initiative) and in it he relates a conversation that he had with a parent:

I asked a parent how learners learn at school. He thought about it quite seriously and then remarked. “The teacher teaches them something, maybe from the black-board.  She then questions them and might set a test or the kids write something down.” I wondered how many other parents (and remember that a parent is, essentially, a child's fırst and most influential TEACHer) would agree with this kind of conceptualisation...we haven't got a bloody chance, have we?

Unless we help parents LEARN more first!8 The central challenge here is that it is not really this parent's understanding of "what LEARNing is" that is the real problem - it is what he (or she) does with this understanding that needs to really concern us. If children are "taught" that this what LEARNing is all about (before we even get our hands on them), they are being put on the road to LEARNing illiteracy before getting to the really "good stuff"... For years I have been working with teachers and lecturers (especially those who have not had much formal training in LEARNing and TEACHing) to help them gain the type of LEARNing perspectives that make a real difference to the lives of their students - maybe I have been barking up the wrong tree... 8 A few years back Chris Watkins did a brilliant paper for those lovely chaps at ATL and in it he outlined what he considered to be the three main "ways" of thinking about LEARNing:


What is LEARNing (Watkins taxonomy 2003)

And, this is exactly because:

TEACHing is not LEARNing

As I said before...our kids haven't got a bloody chance, have they?8 Time to GET REAL... Life is not orderly, neat and easy!  The world is a complex place....getting "complexer" with every keystroke and blog post. 8



This starts with parents...

8


Or, does it?8 In one of my very first posts...I talked about the idea of the "LEARNing parent" and challenged mummy and daddy to reflect on whether they were, in fact, being good role-models for their kids. The problem was, and a couple of people reminded me of this, parents have been LEARNed by TEACHers...and by their own experiences of education and the schools they went to. 8


What business are WE in
  1. Are we in the MONEY-MAKING business?

  2. Are we in the TESTING business?

  3. Are we in the TEACHing business?

  4. Are we in the LEARNing business?8 EDUcators "hate" the first one - after all most of us wear those famous t-shirts (Will TEACH for FOOD) at the weekend! They just "know" the second is "wrong" (even though we are increasingly being asked to buy into the "examocracy mentality"). They also get that we cannot justify placing the "means" before the "ends" when answering the last two questions... 8 What freqently bakes their noodle is when we move onto a fifth question:



Politicians might be able to resist TEACHers' calls for change...

- but can they really resist the same calls from LEARNing parents?

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