Blog

The Purpose of Education

Category: LearningTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 164 comments

I set out to discover the purpose of ‘education’ after hearing about the purposed campaign.  After reviewing some quotes from influential scholars and some definitions on the web, a four-sided picture of education’s purpose came to mind.  I began with the Wikipedia definition of education.

Education in the largest sense is any act or experience that has a formative effect on the mind, character or physical ability of an individual. In its technical sense, education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another. ~  Wikipedia

The words ‘act’ and ‘experience’ jumped out at me as those formative effects that can happen everywhere and any time throughout our lives.  But then ‘deliberately transmits’ worried me.  Probably because it gives the impression that content must be deliberately pushed onto learners in an particular place and time.  Then I remembered something I had heard about pull vs. push, or rather what my friend Scott Gould calls “pulley”: “the right balance of push and pull”.

This brought me to the first ‘purpose of education’; to negotiate a balance of push and pull between learners and their sources.

Sometimes learners need permission to pull from their own set of sources.  Teachers, peers, and parents simply need to push the content in their direction, so that learners may discover what they’re looking for and then engage with it.   The pulley-like rotation of push and pull between learners and their sources made me reflect more deeply on the word ‘purpose’.  While reading, again on Wikipedia, I discovered this quotation which resonated.

Purpose-guided education prioritizes intrinsic motivation and helps students to become more engaged in learning experiences through connecting their beliefs and life goals to curricular requirements. ~ Jerry Pattengale

I liked the word ‘their’ because it points to the importance of the student’s, or the learner’s own intrinsic motivation. Education needs to be focused on ‘their’ beliefs and ‘their’ life goals.  The priority isn’t  on pushing ‘them’ to pass tests.

Does the present education system focus on their beliefs and goals? Better yet, does the present education system focus on ‘our’ beliefs and goals?  If not, what can we do about it?

To answer that we must look within.  I looked within myself and something Sir Ken Robinson said about the value of the individual comes to mind.

Make the most of whatever it is that floats your boat…

Only when the learner recognises and rejoices in ‘their’ own purpose can they enjoy the process of learning. To keep the boat of the individual learner afloat, we need to become each other’s sources and understand each other’s motivations.  I think the educational phrase is ‘Jane is highly motivated, she loves XYZ’.  Our purpose is something that we love, so it motivates us.

Purpose: The idea that a final goal is implicit in all living organisms. With teleology (purpose) matter is fulfilling some aim from within. ~  Wikipedia

Without wandering too near to spiritual matters, a ‘final goal’ indicates that a purpose must have a destination. The idea of fulfilling an ‘aim from within’ reveals the starting point of the education process. If the learner is motivated to float their boat toward their purpose, we should help them set sail beyond the rough waters of the past.

Build an education system that feeds inquisitiveness ~  John Abbott

The second ‘purpose of education’ is about stepping outside the boundaries of old systems so that we may learn everywhere.  Education is not confined to a school, or a university, or a workplace, it is an ongoing, perimeterless, living, life-long process that “feeds inquisitiveness” and raises consciousness.

Is it consciousness-raising? …in other words does it reveals possibilities that the learner is able to discover, possibilities that they can act upon? ~ Anne Shaw

We don’t know what future jobs will be, so education should nurture and inspire a life-long inquisitiveness focused on what’s interesting to the learner, no matter where they may be.   Asking, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is the wrong question.  Maybe instead we should ask, “what do you want to be now?”

Explorable opportunities are everywhere and learners should be encouraged to be what they want to be in their moment of inquisitiveness. As learners we ask questions, we get our hands dirty.  Sometimes we succeed at being what we want to be, sometimes we fail. In the sandbox of life our castles may crumble, but we can always keep building, or trying something new.

Sometimes it takes others who are wiser than us, or who simply have a knack for being who we want to be.  Forcing square pegs into round holes is a huge waste of time that only creates unhappy people. Nobody wants to be pushed into being something they’re not.  The “learning ecosystem” recognizes that.

In a learning ecosystem, the objective is to induce change to behaviours that meets the overall organisational objectives. Again, forcing people to change is nigh-on impossible. The Learning & Development team can only provide the conditions in which change is more likely. ~ Mark Berthelemy

In my recent post ‘Educational change starts locally‘ which touched on some important elements within a ecosystem, I presented a case for a holistic approach to ‘education’ that sees beyond the four walls known as school. It starts with a loving commitment from parents at ‘home’, which is supported by friends, colleagues and local businesses within a ‘community’ with ‘school’ being the place where you can experiment in a supportive environment with other ‘like minds’. John Abbot describes this as:

Home – Emotional Development

Community -Inspiration for life in general

School – Intellectual power, how to draw the ideas together

Education – Joining of those three things to get balance.

He goes on to describe the value of ‘social capital’.

Social Capital is the meeting and exchanging of ideas through conversation with others. If we want children to be ready for the future we all have to be involved with it. This the beginning of a revolution that is most needed.

The third ‘purpose of education’ is to fill our learning ecosystem with engaging experiences and conversations.  Roger Schank had to say about it…

You don’t learn anything unless you remember it. Memory comes from having had experience. Experiences have to have certain properties, they have to be, emotional, exciting, contain a surprise or a challenge; without those properties, you don’t remember them.

In order for emotional and exciting engagements to take place, John Abbott reminds us to,

Stop talking ‘at’ learners and start talking ‘with’ them.

Being ‘talked at’ is not an effective way to learn. So why do we spend so much time talking ‘to’ learners and lecturing them? It seems to me that if education wants to make a true shift it must first re-learn how we actually learn, through conversation and experience. Jay Cross suggests that:

Learning implies school. School is chock full of formal learning — courses, classes, and grades that obscure the fact that most learning at school is either self-directed or informal. Informal learning is effective because it is personal. The individual calls the shots. The learner is responsible. It’s real. Most of what we learn, we learn from other people — parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, playmates, cousins, Little Leaguers, Scouts, school chums, room mates, teammates, classmates, study groups, coaches, bosses, mentors, colleagues, gossips, co-workers, neighbors, and, eventually, our children. Sometimes we even learn from teachers.

If a balance between ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ learning can be aligned so that it fits within a personalised context, an opportunity for learners to see the true value of their education can be assured. We are living in a state of permanent ‘perpetual beta’ (via Harold Jarche) and education needs to reflect it.

Finally there is the fourth identified ‘purpose of education’: to combine collective wisdom through listening and balancing the hopes and dreams of those who will inherit what we leave behind.

Let’s support learning everywhere, let’s support Purposed.

I want to create my own ladder and climb it at my own pace. ~ Micah Stubblefield

Related Posts

  • February 15, 2011 Get on the Bus, Go Social.
    dave_7 / Foter.com / CC BY-SAMark’s quote got me thinking…
    Over the next five years every product vertical will be rethought to be […]
  • June 12, 2010 Are we Fostering a Generation of Anxious Learners? If your an Education Minister please consider the information in the article below; there are, most certainly, more ways to skin a fish […]
  • November 14, 2012 Adaptive Learning: Success Breeds Success brewbooks / Foter / CC BY-SAIn an ongoing quest to better understand how Education can be improved utilising both new technologies and […]

Select your comment platform

164 Comments
  1. Thanks for the early feedback via Twitter from andreacarr1 fredgarnett

  2. flapic says:

    Nice post, thanks Paul :)

  3. @flapic Thanks Flavio, appreciate your comment :)

  4. dajbelshaw says:

    Thanks for the contribution, Paul! Really liked the pulley idea about it being a constant negotiation between the pull and push. A much more nuanced version that just saying we should be beholden to the whims of what children are interested in on any particular day – they still need *guiding* in some way. :-)

  5. JamesOReilly says:

    ERIC database provides 59,181 hits for “Purpose” http://eric.ed.gov/

  6. jaycross says:

    Pully trumps push any day.

    jay

  7. @JamesOReilly Thanks for the link, James :)

  8. jaycross says:

    Pully trumps pushy any day.

    jay

  9. @jaycross Thanks Jay :)

  10. @dajbelshaw Children (and adults) do need guiding, at all stages of growth! Thanks for all your hard work with #purposed, I’ve learnt so much from reading the many posts.

  11. John W Lewis says:

    Well done, Paul, for delving into this important area. It is never easy to relate the “message” to the “meaning”. The relationship is strongly dependent on “context”, as you imply.

  12. John W Lewis says:

    Well done, Paul, for delving into this important area. It is never easy to relate the “message” to the “meaning”. The relationship is strongly dependent on “context”, as you imply.

  13. oldandrewuk says:

  14. oldandrewuk says:

    “The words ‘act’ and ‘experience’ jumped out at me as those formative effects that can happen everywhere and any time throughout our lives. But then ‘deliberately transmits’ worried me. Probably because it gives the impression that content must be deliberately pushed onto learners in an particular place and time.”

    A shame really, because it is only the deliberate nature of the learning that can make anything you have said here relevant to education. Without it you are at best talking about learning, and at worst, talking about experience.

  15. jleffron says:

    Paul: Loved the “pulley” analogy – a great visual for the gently balanced tension between push and pull.

    The Pattengale quote about students “connecting their beliefs and life goals to curricular requirements” hits on something quite important: student’s beliefs and goals are where they will connect with what they are being taught. You know I’m very big on the value of not interposing between students and the material they are learning, so that quote resonates strongly; it gives respect to the learner’s own innate ability to extract meaning as they will.

  16. JamesOReilly says:

    ERIC database provides 23,724 hits for “Objective” http://eric.ed.gov/

  17. @JamesOReilly So, how did you like the article, James?

  18. @oldandrewuk Thanks for taking the time to (mis) understand the comment. It was indended to focus the reader on the location and time education can occur, ie. not only from 9-3 within a school building or only within the confines of a training room. Think mobility. You may have heard about them in the Sunday Times supplement, they’re commonly known as the smartphone. I digress.

    I’ve read some of your recent comments on other #purposed posts and having just read your Twitter stream for the past week, I get the impression you’re either really old and crabby, probably still bearing some kind of grudge against someone or something, or, you’re actually here to inspire us with a deep wisdom based upon years of front line experience, so which is it?

    I enjoy intelligent comments that start with… “I really enjoyed ‘xyz’, but I think ‘abc’ could be improved by applying ‘this and that’… based on my experience… or see this link as it may help you… Are you following so far? What I mean is, help the writer, not blast them out of the water by means of introduction, that’s just lazy and pointless (raises eyebrows – shakes head).

    May I be so blunt as to suggest that you practice this simple tactic within your online ‘social’ circles, you may find that a few more people decide to follow your posts, as I’m sure, deep down, you mean well.

    Again, thanks for sharing your point of view, hope you enjoyed mine.

  19. JamesOReilly says:

    @simbeckhampson I do indeed, its an essential theme that needs dire outreach… some educators cant find it on the brim of their hat… in spite of the 10,000s of hits in their backyard edu database…

  20. @jleffron Thanks Janet, always nice to read your comments, especially because they always add value and make me think beyond the original perspective; thank you for that. Btw, I really like “extract meaning as they will.” +1

    I also think scottgould deserves a pat on the back as everyone (apart from crabby Mr. oldandrewuk ) seems to pick up on the ‘pulley’ concept. It personally reminds me of Dr. Dolittle’s ‘Push me, Pull you’ – http://goo.gl/axnDu – I do love that book, I’m just reading it to my daughter at the moment, full of wisdom, actually, I get more excited in the evening than she does ;) Let’s catch up soon on Skype, it’s been a while.

  21. @JamesOReilly Poetic, James, and very true!

  22. @John W Lewis Thanks, John, and you’re right, it’s not any easy task, but I enjoyed giving it a shot, still lots to learn. Have a great weekend.

  23. hackmanj says:

    Hey Paul, another great post. As education becomes a center stage here in our house this information found my eyes at a timely stage.

    Best,

    Joe

  24. @hackmanj I know where you coming from, Joe! Watching my daughter grow up in this wave of change keeps me on my toes. It is natural that we want the best for our children, trying to figure out what that best is, is not always easy, which is why I was more than happy to help the #purposed project. The purposeducation campaign has been a great way to tap into a wide range of thought leaders on this important topic, I can highly recommend their archive which you’ll find here – http://purposed.org.uk/archive

    As always, appreciate your comment, Joe, have a great weekend.

  25. ddrrnt says:

    Seems like the purpose of education is to redefine itself in the face of present challenges. As you and I both know, kids love smartphones, tablets, and playing games that stimulate their imaginations. That is why I love #edukare so much: they recognize how kids need an abundant ecosystem of holistic approaches that engage them with a purposed community. We gotta invest our social capital because top-down education needs bottom-up transformation. We either adapt to structural change, or we get crushed by it. Okay, that’s enough of my naughty opinions. Talk to you later.

  26. oldandrewuk says:

    @simbeckhampson I suggest that if you don’t want to be challenged about whether education is deliberate or not, you shouldn’t use the word “deliberate” when describing what you have issues with.

    Alternatively, you can simply reply with indignation and insults to anyone who does challenge you. You won’t be the first person to tell me that “debate” shouldn’t include disagreeing.

  27. @ddrrnt Just sent a tingle through my keyboard, that did! I think we could also expand those holistic approaches to involve adults within a workplace scenario, eh? I think you nailed it with ‘abundant ecosystem’, ‘bottom up-transformation’, ‘structural change’ and ‘purposed community’. I’m sure jaycross hjarche c4lpt charlesjennings and quinnovator from the Internet Time Alliance, would also share your view especially from a ‘working smarter’ perspective. Talk soon, and thanks :)

  28. @oldandrewuk Oh, I do enjoy debate, I just don’t appreciate your condescending manner of introduction, and neither do others’ I’ve spoken to today. If you’d like to add some value to this article I’m sure we’d all like to hear it, I’m personally very intrigued to learn more about your view-point ‘education is deliberate’ – perhaps we should start again…

    Hello, Andrew, thanks for your comment, could you expand on your point?

  29. Elle DCoda says:

    Clark Quinn (who says learning should be hard fun) suggests that education should hook us through a visceral awareness of importance.So what makes for this “visceral awareness”, could it be “purpose”?

    Khalil Gibran offers this gem, “The teacher who is wise does not bid you to enter his house of wisdom, but leads you to the threshold of your own mind.” Thanks for the anchor, Paul.

  30. oldandrewuk says:

    @simbeckhampson I’m well aware that the purpose/ed “debate” is full of people so insecure as to be offended by a direct challenge and to find it unthinkable that anyone would be so rude as to read their 500 words and say “that’s wrong and this is why”. I’ve also noticed that when they have no counter-argument then the usual tactic is either abuse or complaints about my “tone” or (as in your case) both. That said, I think you are the first person to claim that I should have started by describing something I enjoyed about your contribution.

    I’m not sure what elaboration you want about the point I made. Education is a deliberate enterprise. We might learn incidentally through life, but that is not what we normally mean by “education”. The difference between education and incidental learning is as clear as the difference between medicine and convalescence. To object to “deliberate transmission” in education is, by necessity, to object to education.

    Understand?

  31. AmandaFenton says:

    Loved this part: “We don’t know what future jobs will be, so education should nurture and inspire a life-long inquisitiveness focused on what’s interesting to the learner, no matter where they may be. Asking, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is the wrong question.”

    Pieces of your post also reminded me of this talk, when Richard talks about an elder’s teaching on the two most important days of our life: the day we are born and the day we find our place in our community (purpose). I think that also has the flexibility for our place in our community to shift – without losing purpose. Imagine if the purpose of education supported that aim.

    http://businessinnovationfactory.com/iss/video/bif6-richard-leider

  32. ToughLoveforX says:

    I thought it might be helpful to look at this through the lens of community development. I think it’s pretty well communicated in a “NMEX” tweet exchange this morning…

    @SteveBomford Says to me that reorganized edu can be a trigger for creating of Resilient Communities by increases in Social Capital.

    @ToughLoveforX Think you’ve hit the nail on the head!!

    I haven’t had a chance to go through all the comments so I may be repeating a notion. In any case, it seems to me that if “education” is reframed as “community development” in well defined places it might get the political traction that gets us from here to there more quickly. It might also be a helpful framing to take these insights from the top and middle of the pyramid to the Bottom where it is so desperately needed.

  33. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk @simbeckhampson As clear as the difference between medicine and convalescence is a helpful metaphor. Brings to mind the typical notion of High Intervention medicine and the process of Healing. It’s pretty clear that high intervention medicine is starting to run it’s course due to unsustainable costs and suboptimal outcomes.

    So where does that take the difference between “education” and “incidental learning?” The fact is most learning has in fact been “incidental” in the sense of the luck of just the right teacher at just the right time and the serendipitous connections that are the real life of a university, a kindergarten classroom and the Enterprise.

    You know what I mean? What I’m trying to say is that you have it very wrong.

  34. @oldandrewuk Just so you know, I’m taking some time to reflect. I’m not sure how long it will take, but I wanted to let you know that I’m not ignoring you. I’m also reading your blog, with interest.

  35. A wise man… >> @John W Lewis Again, thanks for your words of wisdom this evening regarding the conversation with oldandrewuk – I’m in reflective processing mode (while eating chocolate ice-cream)

  36. @Elle DCoda That would tie in with much of what I’ve been saying about looking within. As I’m monitoring this post and reflecting upon the comments and trying to processing them, I definitely understand what quinnovator means by ‘hard fun’. By the way, I’m a big fan of Khalil Gibran though I hadn’t read that quote before, thanks for introducing it to me.

  37. @Elle DCoda That would tie in with much of what I’ve been saying about looking within. As I’m monitoring this post and reflecting upon the comments and trying to process them, I definitely understand what quinnovator means by ‘hard fun’. By the way, I’m a big fan of Khalil Gibran though I hadn’t read that quote before, thanks for introducing it to me.

  38. @Elle DCoda That would tie in with much of what I’ve been saying about looking within. As I’m monitoring this post and reflecting upon the comments and trying to process them, I definitely understand what quinnovator means by ‘hard fun’. By the way, I’m a big fan of Khalil Gibran though I hadn’t read that quote before, thanks for introducing it to me.

  39. @Elle DCoda@quinnovator means by ‘hard fun’. By the way, I’m a big fan of Khalil Gibran though I hadn’t read that quote before, thanks for introducing it to me.

  40. @Elle DCoda That would tie in with much of what I’ve been saying about looking within. As I’m monitoring this post and reflecting upon the comments and trying to processing them, I definitely understand what Clark means by ‘hard fun’. By the way, I’m a big fan of Khalil Gibran though I hadn’t read that quote before, thanks for introducing it to me.

  41. @AmandaFenton Sitting comfortably with a fresh coffee and (more) ice-cream to watch Richard Leider’s talk ‘The Power of Purpose’…

  42. @ddrrnt Be nice to hear from edgrainger , I’m sure he has an interesting take on all of this…

  43. @AmandaFenton Such a wonderful video, Amanda, really appreciate that you shared the link. As I was listening to Richard I was thinking exactly the same as you, ‘imagine if you applied this to education’. I’ve written down lots of notes and will add them in a separate comment tomorrow. It’s getting late now and I’m out ice-cream which means it must be time for bed.

  44. hypergogue says:

    Pulley is something that’s going straight into my file of ‘phrases to use when I’m PowerPointing’.

    But, I’m with Amanda (Hello, Amanda!) on, “Maybe instead we should ask, “what do you want to be now?”” This is aces.

    One of the things that stuff like Wikipedia has surfaced (see this for evidence http://thewikigame.com/) is that, when it comes to knowledge, you can get pretty much anywhere from pretty much anywhere. So, to take my favourite example, maths, it doesn’t make sense to try and ‘make maths interesting’. It’s far easier to find something interesting and then find the maths in it.

    I’d imagine the same is true for all subjects (although the concept of ‘literacy’ gives me headaches here – there’s definitely some pulley activity here).

    Right now, my son wants to be an Abba-listening, space-faring Honda Civic engineer with occasional forays into dinosaurology – if you can’t build a curriculum out of that, then you’re a dullard.

  45. hypergogue says:

    @dajbelshaw Pulley is good. This – I know it’s only a PR/puff piece for a book, but I’m firmly in the outcome > intent when it comes to art :-) – piece on Tiger Mothers gives me nightmares:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

    There is a lot to be said for being pushy too…

  46. frogphilp says:

    I like all your points, but would like to clarify a couple of things.

    In my experience, education only needs to be focused on children’s beliefs and goals, when students have beliefs and goals that are oppositional to education. For those students who are already there, I can focus on their learning. This ties in with the formal and informal learning part you talked about later – being involved in both parts myself as both a parent and a teacher, I can see how they can form a virtuous cycle, but likeways for those families and communities that are less education-centric, the formal part (i.e. school) has to become more about changing beliefs and goals and less about actually teaching the children the knowledge and skills to achieve them.

    I also to have to take you (because no-one else seems to have) on the whole 500 words thing. You write that ‘being talked at’ is not an effective way to learn. Neither is being blogged at. ;-) Just saying is all.

  47. frogphilp says:

    I like all your points, but would like to clarify a couple of things.

    In my experience, education only needs to be focused on children’s beliefs and goals, when students have beliefs and goals that are oppositional to education. For those students who are already there, I can focus on their learning. This ties in with the formal and informal learning part you talked about later – being involved in both parts myself as both a parent and a teacher, I can see how they can form a virtuous cycle, but likeways for those families and communities that are less education-centric, the formal part (i.e. school) has to become more about changing beliefs and goals and less about actually teaching the children the knowledge and skills to achieve them.

    I also to have to mention (because no-one else seems to have) the whole 500 words thing (you wrote over 1300, including quotations). You write that ‘being talked at’ is not an effective way to learn. Neither is being blogged at. ;-) Just saying is all.

  48. frogphilp says:

    I like all your points, but would like to clarify a couple of things.

    In my experience, education only needs to be focused on children’s beliefs and goals, when students have beliefs and goals that are oppositional to education. For those students who are already there, I can focus on their learning. This ties in with the formal and informal learning part you talked about later – being involved in both parts myself as both a parent and a teacher, I can see how they can form a virtuous cycle, but likeways for those families and communities that are less education-centric, the formal part (i.e. school) has to become more about changing beliefs and goals and less about actually teaching the children the knowledge and skills to achieve them.

    I also to have to mention (because no-one else seems to have) the whole 500 words thing (you wrote over 1300, including quotations). You write that ‘being talked at’ is not an effective way to learn. Neither is being blogged at. ;-) Just saying is all.

  49. olliegardener says:

    Hi @oldandrewuk

    Lets go back to the actual quote: education is the process by which society deliberately transmits its accumulated knowledge, skills and values from one generation to another.

    @simbeckhampson reacted against the words “deliberately transmit”, as it seems to confine education to the process of pushing content at learners – a one way process of delivery.

    Give a man a fish = deliver content. Teach a man to fish = facilitate the process of finding, interpreting and re-purposing resources.

    I don’t think anyone is arguing against education being deliberate, but it is time education broke free from the limitation of “deliberately transmittable information”

    and embraced the power of (deliberate) facilitation of peer-to-peer learning and the deliberate nurturing of a student’s motivation and aptitude for life-long learning.

    “Only when the learner recognises and rejoices in ‘their’ own purpose can they enjoy the process of learning. To keep the boat of the individual learner afloat, we need to become each other’s sources and understand each other’s motivations.”

  50. oldandrewuk says:

    @olliegardener @simbeckhampson Whatever he meant to say, he said “deliberate”.

    Objecting to the transmission of information (or “teaching” as it used to be called) in general is another argument entirely.

  51. edudicator says:

    @oldandrewuk @olliegardener @simbeckhampson Yes I think that the OP objected to the ‘Mug and Jug’ or ‘Chalk and Talk’ method, whereas OldAndrew is viewing the word ‘deliberate’ probably as it was originally intended. As in, referring to the education establishments that you purposefully visit in order to get your education one lesson at a time.

    I’m interested in people’s views on how these philosophical ideals can be actually implemented in the classroom.

  52. edudicator says:

    @oldandrewuk @olliegardener @simbeckhampson Yes I think that the OP objected to the ‘Mug and Jug’ or ‘Chalk and Talk’ method, whereas OldAndrew is viewing the word ‘deliberate’ probably as it was originally intended. As in, referring to the education establishments that you purposefully visit in order to get your education one lesson at a time.

    I’m interested in people’s views on how these philosophical ideals can be actually implemented in the classroom.

  53. @frogphilp Thanks for your comment, Philip. I’m not sure I entirely agree with your idea that school is there, in a premeditated kind of a way, to change beliefs and goals in less education-centric families or communities.

    When students have beliefs and goals that are oppositional to current ‘education’ practices, I see this as positive, and perhaps lends itself better to a question, or series of them, ie. Why do you oppose? How would you like to see it improve? What would work better for you? How, as an establishment, a system, a framework, can we achieve such personalisation, for YOU? How much flexibility can we offer? How can we help you to ‘learn smarter’.

    We don’t need to force-change people’s beliefs and goals or force-align them with our idea of ‘education’, it’s anyway highly outdated. People will change all by themselves, when the environment they’re in allows such change to occur, naturally. We don’t need to ‘teach’ learners by force feeding them knowledge and skills. We need to give learners more choice about how, when and from whom they can gain knowledge. We need to accept that the concept of push content ‘teaching’ is outdated, why? because ‘about 80% of learning is informal’ – see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FkB0ECkXd_U by @charlesjennings

    I’d also argue that current ‘teaching’ methods are the primary reason for student disengagement and the massive drop-out rates seen in the US and Canada today.

    Learners don’t want to learn like this, so why do we continue to force-feed?

    Big question? Do the political powers that-be want such a system? It seems to me that there is a huge question about control in ‘education’. Change scares rigid establishments, and as result they tend to hold on tighter. If establishments become too rigid they fracture and eventually collapse. Technology is highly disruptive and will, imo, cause the change I’m talking about, whether political powers like it or not. The best option for political factions is embrace technology and find innovative, creative ways to help the next generation ‘work smarter’.

    My view, which may not be so different, in some respects from @oldandrewuk is that the future of education is about learning to ‘work smarter’… see: http://goo.gl/gYuYI by @jaycross for a more detailed analysis.

    As to your comment about the length of my blog post, I agree, twas very naughty, apologies to all, must try harder to stick to the rules.

  54. @hypergogue Thanks for adding your take, Simon. It seems everyone likes ‘pulley’ which doesn’t surprise me, the concept is great! I’m glad you liked the ‘be now’ notion, it seems far more relevant than star gazing off into the distant future. Your maths example resonates too; first discover passion and interest, then apply context, really nice! Getting some interesting visuals of a dinosaur driving a Civic with ‘Mama-mia’ blasting out the stereo – good luck with that one!

  55. @ToughLoveforX@stevebomford Thanks for sharing your tweet exchange. I like the notion of raising social capital through developing resilient communities, as you know. The idea of a flatter, more transparent structure that facilitates collaborative, collective learning is one that resonates loud and clear. The pyramid you talk of is also shifting, it could end up doing the equivalent of a full ‘polar shift’ – #invert & #flatten ;)

  56. ToughLoveforX says:

    @frogphilp I’m not sure there is an authentic way to change “beliefs and goals” without “actually teaching the children the knowledge and skills ” to be able to become learners. Any thoughts?

  57. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk Another frame for work “smarter” is to get to appropriate outcomes with the minimum stress at the greatest speed. the examples that come to mind are probably from Google and Zappos.

  58. frogphilp says:

    @simbeckhampson@frogphilp@oldandrewuk@jaycross@charlesjennings

    Vygotsky talked about learning taking place within a socio-cultural context. This has important ramifications for education – it can’t happen in a vacuum. People’s beliefs and goals have to come from somewhere; and they are vital within the student-teacher relationship. When I wrote my comment I wasn’t thinking of families who might have slightly different beliefs from me, I’m talking about families in whom a 6-year old’s belief is it’s OK to play with knives and his goal is to destroy his sister’s trampoline; a mother who’s belief is that she has no power to do anything about her own 6-year old son and who’s goal is to have the boy whom she has loved and raised removed from her by social services. I don’t want to ‘force-change’, as you put it, their beliefs and goals but I have to do something for the bleakness of their lives – I have to provide them hope somehow.

    It might be that in the US and Canada the ‘push’ model has become too prevalent, but I’m not sure that is true with many UK schools. Both ‘pushing’ knowledge at children (rigid scaffold teaching) and ‘pulling’ them to achieve their own learning (negotiated scaffold teaching) have a place in formal learning – it’s getting the blend between the two of them right that is important. I would argue that the gap between rich and poor is the primary reason for student disengagement, not teaching methods, as you maintain.

    My children use Google Docs to collaborate; they make and edit videos; they create their own websites, but I still get them to rote-learn their times tables and their irregular spellings. Some teaching methods change, some don’t – they key thing is that at the moment, the expert (usually teacher / more experienced adult) is the main teaching method we have. In that sense networks achieved in classrooms, in schools, in communities and on social media are the most important thing for successful education. All of these things rely on real people who are influenced by their own beliefs.

  59. ToughLoveforX says:

    @simbeckhampson @frogphilp @oldandrewuk @jaycross@charlesjennings You might find this article from the New York Times relevant in the context of “lends itself better to a question, or series of them, ie. Why do you oppose? How would you like to see it improve? What would work better for you”

    Let Kids Rule the School http://ilnk.me/789d

  60. @oldandrewuk Look forward to you “disentangling” smart in forthcoming posts.

  61. @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @oldandrewuk @jaycross@charlesjennings Thanks for the link…

  62. frogphilp says:

    @ToughLoveforX I agree. I don’t think there is an authentic way of changing beliefs full stop – whenever I have done it, I’m always left feeling a bit hollow – the public servant who made the student change the way they think just to meet the needs of society.

    After all it’s only knowledge anyway – a belief is a knowledge of how to live; a skill is a knowledge of how to do something; and a goal is the knowledge of what you want to achieve.

    I still think that I have to change beliefs at times though. Part teacher / part social engineer. I just don’t feel good about it.

  63. RobinMay says:

    Hi Paul. Etymologically the word education comes from the Latin ‘Educere’ = To bring out / to bring forth from within and To lead….I encourage you to look into Constructivism, which is based on the idea that knowledge is something the learn…er creates, rather than a ‘teacher’ transmits or passes on in some way….I lean toward the thinking of Carl Rogers (1969, Freedom To Learn), who defined meaningful learning as something which results in behavioural change and, within this context, he goes on to suggest that the results of teaching are either inconsequential or, indeed, harmful….Increasingly, I see little value in teaching – believing that the emphasis needs to be on learning – which requires people like me to facilitate rather than teach.. ~Robin

  64. @frogphilp @oldandrewuk @jaycross@charlesjennings

    Thank you for your explanation… agree, it is about getting the blend right. I also admire the kindness and hope you convey :) I’d be interested to hear more about your ‘rich poor’ argument.

  65. ToughLoveforX says:

    @frogphilp I think it helps to frame “belief” as an operative narrative that supplies an answer to “who I am?” and .”Where do I fit in?”

    The good news is that the best way to change those beliefs is with unambiguous evidence of competence. While the standardized tests and grades do have many unintended dysfunctional consequences, they do supply that evidence.

    I still remember ( 1960s) when I finally got an A in one of my undergraduate courses. At the time I was trying to figure out what I was interested in pursuing. The “A” in a sea of B and B+s helped me figure that out.

    On the other side, I will never forget the effect of the D I received on my first freshman paper. in my secondary education, competent writing was not needed. It got my attention and also created a huge stress. it would have been alot better if my college would have recognized the likelihood of that event. Not to inflate the grade. But to give the extra support needed to overcome that problem

    Unfortunately grades have been inflated under the pressures of the connection between a grade and doing well in Life. From what I can tell in the States, they have lost their signifying power. The challenge is to find new signifiers that serve the same function.

  66. ToughLoveforX says:

    @RobinMay You might be interested in an EduKare meme to capture some of that reality. @graingered in Alberta is unfolding at his blog. I bring it up because educare was part of the inspiration. I think it’s fair to say that John Dewey at the turn of the century laid out most of the basic insights of the Constructivist approach. I recently read a fascinating article putting Dewey squarely in the tradition that has evolved into Complexity Theory. https://kindle.amazon.com/post/3L0M409YO2H4Z

  67. frogphilp says:

    @RobinMay I know it’s only semantics, but I’d argue that anything that you do that causes someone else to learn is teaching. When you say ‘I see little value in teaching’, in my head I’m reading ‘I see little value in direct instruction’. But that be just me,

  68. frogphilp says:

    @ToughLoveforX @RobinMay @graingered I tried to sum up the key theorisers on maths education in this post http://philpmaths.posterous.com/bloomfields-theorisers

  69. frogphilp says:

    @simbeckhampson Thanks.

    I’d love to develop the rich / poor argument too. In the UK huge reforms where made to education at the end of the 80s / start of the 90s. A National Curriculum was started, testing for 11 years olds and 7 years olds and new inspection body was considered (now called Ofsted). It came from research that showed that if you could put all those things in place you could make 15% of a difference to educational outcomes. The other 85% is all achieved through minimising the poverty gap and maintaining social justice.

  70. ToughLoveforX says:

    @frogphilp @RobinMay @graingered”knowledge exists neither externally to the individual nor internally; but on the tender wisps of the webs that lie between individuals;” beautifully said. thanks for the link..

  71. ToughLoveforX says:

    @frogphilp @simbeckhampson “make 15% of a difference to educational outcomes” Nice stat. thanks. it speaks to the issue at the bottom of the pyramid that the challenge and opportunity is to find ways that are much better, faster and cheaper.

    What I think I see is that as the web has matured there are many possibilities.One that seems a natural is to see “schools” as triggers for “anti-poverty” interventions. Seems quite straightforward if collaborative project based learning merely widens the circle around collaborative.

    What if mitigating the proximate problems of the local community were taken on as projects within the school. With addition of publishing – in print and with anywhere TV – it should develop into a local communication ecosystem that would in turn lead to unlocking the social capital already present.

  72. ToughLoveforX says:

    This may seem a bti out of left field but in the context of he conversation about Poverty and Education, consider the role of Hope in the Middle East. I think it’s fair to say that hopelessness is a prime characteristic of the culture of poverty. I think it’s also fair to say that hopefulness is a critical difference between the “middle class” and those below it.

    The point is at once the energy of Hope is unleashed, changes in governments, societies, enterprise and education can proceed at previously unimagined speeds. it’s appropriate to consider the slogan used in the States as we elected a Black President. Certainly something that “No One Could Have Predicted.” The slogan his amazing communication team used was “Hope you can believe in.”

    The #eduKare approach is to try to define how Hope is engendered among at risk children. it’s an under appreciated fact that all of our children are at risk. In the middle classes it presents as a diagnoses of “ADD” or drug use or bullying. The contention is that all are manifestations of the unproductive stress created by the clash between a new culture emerging and legacy institutional structures that do not have the agility to respond to new realities.

    To be clear this is only a framework for the more interesting challenges and opportunities that are before us, just as the toppling of Mubarak is only the prelude to the hard part.

  73. oldandrewuk says:

    @frogphilp @RobinMay Think about it.

    Would locking someone in a cupboard with a textbook be “teaching”?

  74. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk @frogphilp @RobinMay If the lighting were good, the cupboard comfortable and the textbook about something that is the object of passionate interest, then I say it is an opportunity for some real learning. And thus “teaching.”

  75. frogphilp says:

    @oldandrewuk @RobinMay No.

  76. oldandrewuk says:

    @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay This is the problem with arguing by reductio ad absurdum. There is always somebody who will accept the absurd position.

    All I can do is suggest that you stop and reflect for a moment. If I lock somebody in a cupboard with a textbook, even if they learn a lot from it, can anyone really say I taught them?

    Really?

    Seriously?

    Does that claim not seem a little odd to you?

  77. jleffron says:

    @hypergogue You’ve got it right in the maths area. There are always a few minds out there that naturally glom onto theoretical math, but I know topics like partial differentials or Fourier transforms were a lot easier for me, and most of my peers, to understand after we had some physical context or application; we simply didn’t grasp the theory as well as we did a tangible use. After understanding the application, what you might term “that something interesting that we could find maths in”, the theory was a lot easier to tackle.

  78. frogphilp says:

    @oldandrewuk @ToughLoveforX @RobinMay I agree. That claim is odd. Locking somebody in a cupboard isn’t teaching. It really isn’t teaching. And it seriously isn’t teaching. Who was it that made the claim that locking somebody in a cupboard with a textbook is teaching?

  79. oldandrewuk says:

    @frogphilp @oldandrewuk @ToughLoveforX @RobinMayToughLoveforX made the claim that locking somebody in a cupboard with a textbook could be teaching. Apologies to frogphilp if that wasn’t clear, I haven’t really got the hang of how comments are threaded here.

  80. frogphilp says:

    @oldandrewuk @ToughLoveforX @RobinMay You might argue that locking somebody in a cupboard is ‘education’, in the “that’ll learn them” sense of the word. But it certainly isn’t teaching. It brings to mind a memory of watching “The Hill” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0059274/ and thinking about the educational approaches therein. I’m not sure if ToughLoveforX meant that though.

  81. AmandaFenton says:

    @hypergogue Hi back Simon! The example I always think of is on the power of purpose for a kid is from the book Rocket Boys (some of you have heard me quote this before):

    “My usually less supply mind was trying to figure out how high our rockets were flying. I delved into Jake’s book. Quentin, delighted to have it, did the same. Sitting together in the Big Creek auditorium at lunch, we taught ourselves trigonometry. I had discovered that learning something, no matter how complex, wasn’t hard when I had a reason to want to know it. With trig under our belt, all we would need to do was build some instruments to measure angles and we would be able to calculate how high our rockets flew.”

    Here’s the opportunity – how do we help kinds find out what their passionate about (today, at least)? I mused on this regarding adults but I think there’s something here when it comes to kids and the purpose of education (http://amandafenton.com/2010/08/talent-and-passion-a-collision-of-myths/):

    “In other words, discovering passion requires a dedication to unstructured exploration. You have to leave large swathes of free time in your schedule (a technique I call underscheduling), and fill this time with the exploration of things that might be interesting. Of equal importance, when something catches your attention you must leverage your free time to aggressively follow up.” – Cal Newport

  82. Just reading rogerschank latest inspiring paper ‘Everything You Think You Know About Education is Wrong’ – seems like a very timely piece, everyone! What do I think of it? Spot on, Roger!

    The following quotes jumped out:

    “We should be interested in what students know how to do. Simply put, with the exception of reading writing and arithmetic, the entire school curriculum from K-12 needs to be thrown away.”

    “…School as a physical place is irrelevant except for its day care and socialization function.”

    “The time has come to throw out the old, out of date, and irrelevant education system and replace it by something relevant to how the mind works and relevant to how the world we live in works.”

    http://www.rogerschank.com/ (bottom right)

  83. @jleffron @hypergogue Nice example, Janet :)

  84. @AmandaFenton @hypergogue I think you’ll enjoy reading rogerschank new paper (http://www.rogerschank.com/ (bottom right)), he gets stuck into the heart of the matter and says it like it should be. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts once you’ve had time to explore.

    Your example of the Rocket Boys, which I loved, is typified in Roger’s paper in this quote “We want students to learn how to do things.” (page 7) I’d like to underline, bold and colour the word ‘do’, unfortunately this is not one of the features of livefyre – perhaps it could go onto their development list? Jordon? jkretch

    ‘Underscheduling’ resonates loud and clear and was definitely something I was driving at in my post about education starting locally (http://goo.gl/nSdbK). It is depressing to see children over burdened with work that is not relevant, necessary or even chosen.

    I really appreciate both your comments and links, they’ve added real value to this conversation. I’m reposting your above link as there were a few ‘foreign bodies’ attached in the URL ;)

    http://amandafenton.com/2010/08/talent-and-passion-a-collision-of-myths/

  85. @olliegardener @oldandrewuk **Love** the contextual fish example! It conjured up images of Nordic fisherman patiently waiting for their early morning catch, already dreaming of the fish pie their wives would be making that evening.

    “I don’t think anyone is arguing against education being deliberate, but it is time education broke free from the limitation of “deliberately transmittable information”” – Thank you!

    “and embraced the power of (deliberate) facilitation of peer-to-peer learning and the deliberate nurturing of a student’s motivation and aptitude for life-long learning.” – Beautiful!

    Smart cookie! Hat-tip.

  86. @edudicator Thank you for you comment. In terms of philosophical ideals I would seriously suggest reading Roger Schank’s latest new paper. One section you may be interested in:

    “Teaching thinking simply means putting students in situations where they have to think, or more explicitly, where they have to engage in one or more of the cognitive processes. How do we do this within the context of school?

    The answer is we don’t. As long as school emphasizes academic subjects, there will be right answers to be learned and tests to be passed. Learning to think is exactly the opposite.” ~ Roger Schank (Page 19) – http://www.rogerschank.com/ (bottom right)

  87. @hypergogue @dajbelshaw This nailed it for me…

    “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up.” ~ Amy Chua

    Thanks for the link, Simon.

  88. @RobinMay Thanks Rob :)

  89. ToughLoveforX says:

    @frogphilp @oldandrewuk @RobinMay Just to clarify my point is to consider that the single most effective thing a teacher can do is to create and manage an environment where learning is likely to occur. I stretched my response to try to make that point. Of course no one believes that locking anyone anywhere is either ethical or effective.

    @oldandrewuk said “ToughLoveforX made the claim that locking somebody in a cupboard with a textbook could be teaching….” but neglected to add the If in the original response..

    “If the lighting were good, the cupboard comfortable and the textbook about something that is the object of passionate interest, then I say it is an opportunity for some real learning. And thus “teaching.”

  90. oldandrewuk says:

    @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay

    I think you are missing the point, TL4X. It’s not that you are being accused of saying locking people in cupboards is effective or ethical teaching; it is not that I am forgetting to mention all the conditions you put in to ensure that the cupboard confinement allows the maximum amount of learning.

    It is that if you think that locking somebody in a cupboard with a textbook is teaching then, no matter how suited to learning the cupboard is and how effectively it causes them to learn, then you are demonstrating that you have lost all sense of what is normally meant by “teaching”.

  91. olliegardener says:

    @edudicator I think a lot of these philosophical ideas are already being implemented in the classroom, even if the “institution” of education isn’t quite ready to actively encourage and upskill teachers to take this approach on.

    I took a class on “strategic human resources” at a university in NZ. The whole class was built around a game/simulation. We were split up into “companies” (4-5 students in each) and had to work together around a HR related case-study and come to a strategic decision around the topic being covered in class that week (each group’s decision would feed into the simulation and affect the context of future decisions).

    We weren’t just learning about say – employment law, we had to discuss and (despite individual differences in opinion), come to a shared decision to feed back into the simulation. Our ability to work as a group and present a well reasoned decision in front of the rest of the class was a major part of our grade assessment.

    For each case study we were also to demonstrate (in the form of a written assignment) our individual understanding of the case study, our reasoning behind our decision (could differ from the group’s decision) and our expectations of different decisions’ consequences .

    I know how affective this approach can be, not least because of immediate opportunity to apply, discuss and teach what you learn – as you learn it!

    A common concern will be that with this approach there is no way you can fit in the same amount of material. Which is true – but then fitting more slides into a ppt doesn’t make it any more effective…

    Maybe we didn’t cover as many aspects of employment law as we could have if we had followed the text-box from cover to cover, but I am convinced that my ability to

    - recognize an employment law issue when I see it is .. and..

    - know how to approach such issues (figure out what choices are open to me and what to consider in making such a decisions)

    .. are much greater due to the variety of case studies that I was not only exposed to, but involved in during that semester.

    As it happens, I never went on to work with employment law, but it is still the subject that I remember most clearly from my time at uni.

    But it is a real skill to get this approach right and is certainly not the right approach in all circumstances. sachac latest blog post mentions a similar approach taken at the school that her child goes to…

    “I think the program might be more useful than a plain-vanilla-teach-to-the-textbook approach. Filling in the gaps at home is much more effective than waxing nostalgic or wringing our hands in worry.”

    http://sachachua.com/blog/2011/03/filling-in-the-learning-gaps

    Like she says; “It helps to understand that it’s normal for some things to be missed. No school is perfect, no teacher is perfect, and no student is perfect”.

    But if we continue to explore such approaches (and learn from them), I think we will make some really valuable additions the toolbox of education.

  92. “The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” ~ Robert M. Hutchins (http://goo.gl/u3ysy)

  93. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk @frogphilp @RobinMay That’s fair. my argument is that it’s precisely the common wisdom notion of what has been “normally meant by teaching” is what is changing with the challenges and opportunities of new technology and the reorganization of the global economy that is now emerging.

  94. ToughLoveforX says:

    @olliegardener @edudicator sachac Thank you for “I think a lot of these philosophical ideas are already being implemented in the classroom, even if the “institution” of education isn’t quite ready to actively encourage and upskill teachers to take this approach on.”

    I agree.

  95. @ToughLoveforX @oldandrewuk @frogphilp @RobinMay Very generous TL4X ;)

  96. alc47 says:

    Hi Paul. Thanks for alerting me to this – it is insightful, scholarly and well argued. I haven’t had too much time to reflect but the following just might add something to the debate – and I have been passionate about purpose all my life!

    The comments about “What do you wnat to be when/now……..?” both seem to me to miss the point given our perpetual beta – the future is unpredictable, the present is transient so, is the question that we need in order to help each other (young and old) “What kind of life would you like to have?”. This seems to me to lead us into a deeper conversation which is values and purpose driven.

    While I have a huge respect for – and love reading and listening to – Roger Schank, I think he also is guilty of not going far enough wiht his assertion about the need for memory to make learning real. Surely the point here is that if we have context we are able to locate experience and then that provides the environment for memory that is relevant – and therefore real learning.

    The 4th purpose for me is truly inspirational (to combine collective wisdom through listening and balancing the hopes and dreams of those who will inherit what we leave behind.) and provides the complete rationale for everything we are all trying to do in the promoting of awareness of the power of social learning.

    In that context I have to disagree with your quote from Mark Bethelemy. I don’t believe that L&D has any operational role in setting conditions for change – change does not happen because it is contextualised and shaped, it happens because people want to change. Our role therefore can only be in opening peoples minds to the possibilities and helping them to explore them and turn them into action.

  97. Today I asked jonhusband , fellow Internet Time Alliance associate, what he thought the purpose of education was; his response:

    “To enable people to think critically within useful context whilst appreciating and / or understanding the complexity of life through and with others.”

  98. oldandrewuk says:

    @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay This whole thing about cupboards stemmed from a point of semantics about what the word teaching means. If you now admit that you are not following normal definitions then my point stands.

  99. @oldandrewuk @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay You may find this list of crowdsourced content interesting – ‘The myths and truths of training (teaching) and learning’ – http://lrnchat.wordpress.com/myths-truths/ via the lrnchat community on Twitter.

  100. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk @frogphilp @RobinMay Sounds fair. So to clarify do you think it’s fair to say that you and I have a basic disagreement about the what “teaching” means at this point in world history? If “normal” indicates the meme used by the institutions that are presently trying to figure out how to reinvent themselves to be able to survive and thrive in this new state of Human History. I gladly concede the point. Indeed. Your point does stand.

  101. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk I look forward to understanding how you see “teaching” as normally described fitting into the going forward world. @frogphilp @RobinMay

  102. Hi Paul, great post and some great comments, congratulations. I’m no expert in education but for me the purpose of education is to prepare an individual to have a happy and fulfilled life. The question is whether this fulfillment comes about through pursuing individual or social goals, a questions which still divides us politically and economically. This brings to mind Sir Ken Robinson’s talk on the education system, where he suggests that the present day system was created for the industrial revolution, designed to turn out people with the correct skills to deliver economic growth. As we move (I hope) to a period of economic sustainability, as opposed to growth, I would argue that the role of education needs to change to meet that objective, educating people to find fulfillment within a sustainable economy and society.

  103. @Sim Stewart That’s one of the great things about this debate, you’re not expected to be a world expert to have an opinion on the topic. We’ve all been through ‘an education’ system and all of us commenting here are passionate about learning and teaching and most have a vested interest in how education can better match the requirements of 21st century learners.

    Quick aside: For those of you who don’t know Sim, his company focus’s on helping people to find answers to questions by matching those looking for answers with those able to give them. If your interested to know more you can follow them on Twitter cofacio or visit the website http://thehelpengine.com.

    Hey Sim, I wonder whether there could also be educational applications for the help engine platform? After all, work is learning, to coin the phrase used by hjarche “Work is learning, learning work – that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know” – the full article here: http://goo.gl/DiKVm – anyhow I may have digressed, again… :)

    I love this quote from your comment: “…educating people to find fulfillment within a sustainable economy and society.” That’s a really great insight. I’m really pleased you found the time to contribute and best of luck with Cofacio and the help engine.

    A little treasure that @AmandaFenton left the other day may interest you. It’s a short video on the ‘Power of Purpose’ – comes highly recommended ;) Cheers.

    http://businessinnovationfactory.com/iss/video/bif6-richard-leider

  104. @alc47 Coming from you Nic, I’m honoured by your opening comment, thank you very much, sir. Now to your complaints, I mean comments ;)

    I like the magic wand approach, “What kind of life would you like to have?” I was talking with my brother studiohampson, only last night, about values and purpose and some of what we discussed was emphasised in @AmandaFenton video; I just added a link to it in the comment above to Sim (I’m sure you’d enjoy it too, if in fact you’ve not yet seen it). Four key elements that Richard Leider identified in having a good life were:

    1) Place you belong (geography, community)

    2) with the People you love (choosing your tribe, shared path)

    3) while doing the Right work (livelihood)

    4) on Purpose (reason we get up in the morning)

    Though perhaps not complete, these are all good focus areas for those designing next generation education practices to consider.

    It would be great if rogerschank was available to take you up on the second comment, I’m sure his input here would be of great value – fingers crossed. Last night, I started to read a new paper Roger has began publishing, I’m sure it would also be of interest to you too, see: http://www.rogerschank.com/ (link bottom right) – “what is wrong in education and how to fix it.”

    My work with a open_intel inspired the 4th purpose. We are working as a collective unit gathering content from a wide array of sources. Utilising technology is only a part of the process and is wholly incomplete without the judgement and analysis of collective human intelligence. As we both know, social learning is most definitely not just about the technology.

    I wonder if berthelemy is around to discuss your final comment, it would make for an interesting exploration. Mark, are you around?

    Thanks again Nic, for taking the time to add to the comments here, the time and effort you’ve given is much appreciated.

  105. @ToughLoveforX Apologies that it has taken time to reply to your comment! As you’ll be aware there has been lots of cross fire in the last few days, and I’m typing and thinking as fast as my little brain will allow ;)

    I’ve been following your edukare posts with interests and I believe that your intentions are more than honourable. There are some many factors that influence children in this rapidly changing world that it’s comforting to know that people like ddrrnt edgrainger and many others in the edukare community are actively working to find practical solutions to harness resilience and improve life for children everywhere. Keep up the great work, your making a real difference. Hat-tip.

    I like Obama’s ‘Hope you can believe in’, but I’d like it even more if it had read “Hope we can all believe in’ ;)

  106. ToughLoveforX says:

    @simbeckhampson edukare ddrrnt @graingerEd Thank you for the kind words. Just to share from the States, this thread and you’re other posts have been among the most interesting and useful I’ve yet found. Congratulations on the good work.

  107. @frogphilp Interesting… do have any links to support this?

  108. AlexSchleber says:

    @Sim Stewart re:education for the industrial revolution, Seth Godin had recently argued a similar thing when talking about the way in which most of us were force-fed certain subjects, say like higher-level differential math, which the system knew with relative certainty most students would not need again in their work lives, but the “learning” of which would turn us into “compliant cogs”. His words, not mine, though I tend to agree.

    The overriding goals of education should be intrinsic motivation as Paul points out, i.e. recognizing/honoring the individual and her non-standardized talents, which tends to lead to a fulfilled and hopefully happy life.

    Furthermore, I’d add that my own experience has shown that only knowledge items connected through-and-through with other items/disciplines is underdstanding, i.e. true knowledge that will have a high degree of recall, while rote learning for a test in order to create largely random/isolated memory traces is NOT.

    BTW, awesome post Paul, great job on curating so many different voices into one post.

  109. tdebaillon says:

    Hi Paul, that’s a great post and an overwhelming insightful conversation going on here :)

    You asked me to add my two ¢, and that would have been much easier if I hadn’t read your post and a bunch of comments! Well… Trying to make sense of what I learned here, I would summarize that the purpose of education, for me, is giving people a set of skills to allow them tackling most life situations with positive outcomes.

    Some elements which helped me in that thinking:

    First, I agree with frogphilp’s reminder of Vygotsky’s work: any education takes place in a socio-cultural context. Not only, for me, does that context is a starting point of education, but it provides a framework of values to be transmitted. People deal with evolution, and these values, whether being religion, social behaviors, class belonging, cultural know-how, helped them to drive their life, and transmission of these values gives education a global skeleton upon which individual learning can happen.

    Then, most of the discussion here is about cognitive learning, if not about the school system. I agree that school is important in education, but I think that the main purpose of cognitive training (improperly approximated to knowledge transmission) is to teach people how to learn. If it succeeds or not in this mission is a bit beyond the scope of your question :)

    My third point is that you quite all discuss about education as a whole, not taking into account the evolution of the learner. From prime infancy to adult age, scope and tools of education vastly change, and involve a different mix of learning (formal, informal,…) as well as of knowledge acquisition (cognitive of course, but also memetic, emotional,…). So, even if we might come along with a global “purpose” for education, each age, each stage, fits a somehow different purpose by itself, from physical mastery to critical thinking.

    Cordially,

    Thierry

  110. @ToughLoveforX Thanks, try my best… :)

  111. @oldandrewuk After a number of days reflection, I would like to openly apologise for my initial reaction, which I now believe to have been quite unjustified. I’ve invested time to learn more about you in the past 48 hours and I now see that your arguments, perhaps not all here, but certainly contained within your blog postings, contain very many valid educational insights.

    I’m still not sure I appreciate your method of communication, but I cannot deny that your point of view contains quality reasoning. We may not see eye to eye on all topics, but you have taught me a valuable lesson for which I am most grateful, thank you.

  112. @John W Lewis Have conceded that @oldandrewuk is not as ‘old and crabby’ as I first thought. Just wanted to thank you for planting the seed or reflective thought; you’re a good egg, cheers ;)

  113. ToughLoveforX says:

    @tdebaillon You might find the framework being developed by @GraingerEd in Canada interesting. http://ilnk.me/6599 His background is in “special education” and is working to establish a “wrap around model” that speaks directly to the emotional needs of both students and the communities they live in.

    In his framing, Purpose of Education is Resilient Students in Resilient Communiites. Seems directly in line with what “giving people a set of skills to allow them tackling most life situations with positive outcomes” and “from physical mastery to critical thinking.”

    Strikes me that it’s a bit of Back to the Future. “A sound mind in a sound body”

  114. @tdebaillon Thank you, Thierry for an inspiring comment. I must admit I have not studied Vygodsky’s work in any detail, but as a number of people have now mentioned him he has risen on my reading list. Thanks also to @frogphilp for mentioning him.

    I appreciate how you focus us cognitive training and agree with you about teaching people how to learn; the phrase ‘master learner’ has been used in learning circles, and I see this as a role for those whose who choose to enter the profession of ‘teaching’. Simon’s @hypergogue@purposed post adds a valuable insight too about ‘getting out of the way’:

    “The Purpose of Education is to provide me with a stimulating place to play throughout my entire life – for those moments when I’m not capable of providing it for myself – and then get out of the way.” ~ http://goo.gl/NzGKZ

    Your final analysis is great and helps me to see that their are in fact more purposes at different stages of the cycle. Thanks to @ToughLoveforX for expanding upon this below.

    I remember the comments you made on a post (A new word for learning – http://goo.gl/jRlCi) about six months ago, it was also insightful, others may wish to read that too – see: http://fyre.it/8aZ

    Best wishes and thanks for sharing your expert knowledge,

    Paul

  115. @AlexSchleber Thank’s Alex, valuable add… re: the curating, you know where that talent has been developed ;) cc. egoldstein

  116. niallgavinuk says:

    Paul, I offered the term “expand” in our Amplify discussion a few months ago, and I guess I would extend (or expand) that idea further. If we search for a definition of expand, we get: “extend in one or more directions”, “make bigger or wider in size, volume, or quantity”, “grow vigorously”, “elaborate: add details, as to an account or idea”, “clarify the meaning of and discourse in a learned way”, “increase the extent, number, volume or scope of (something)”, etc. So, my view is that through education, howsoever experienced, I/we should be expanded – and hopefully expanding – in knowledge, skills, understanding, capabilities and capacity to allow us to live full and fulfilling lives. Happy to discuss.

  117. tdebaillon says:

    @ToughLoveforX Thanks for pointing me to @graingered ‘s work, Michael. His notion of resilience in education is really appealing, as it allows for constant emotional feedback in the learning process. I don’t think emotion or cognition could work without the other.

  118. @niallgavinuk POW! Wicked reply… ooh, I do like expanding extensions, and now I am definitely spooked after our DM chat on Twitter – WOW… hey, you don’t know Wednesday’s Lotto numbers by any chance; perhaps you choose three and me three – ‘in for a penny in for a pound’… double spooky with desirable outcome! Am taking a break for that cuppa now, but will be back after refreshment reflection.

  119. @tdebaillon @ToughLoveforX @graingered Like minds meet – love it, that’s what it’s all about!

  120. tdebaillon says:

    @simbeckhampson Please don’t call me an expert, Paul :) The only expertise I might be able to claim is that of… learning. I am rather an amateur trying to look under any hood I am in front of, to recognize some patterns there and to connect a few dots!

  121. @tdebaillon Ok… your right… actually as I remember from school, an ‘ex’ is a ‘has been’ and ‘spurt’ is a ‘drip’ of water… :-o #patterns of meaning #jointhedots – all so fun… lucky you, lucky us… cheers.

  122. @ToughLoveforX One of your best replies… TL4X… #wavesofrespect

  123. ToughLoveforX says:

    @tdebaillon @graingered You might also want to take a look at @edKare and #edUkare on twitter. Some of us a playing with some ideas to spread the meme. The hope is that it can help clarify the Public Discourse on “education”

  124. jleffron says:

    “I don’t think emotion or cognition could work without the other.”

    Very true. If you look at studies involving learning in children who have experience trauma and or deprivation (social, emotional, nutritional, in addition to academic deprivation); evidence points to learning being tied at least in part to their recovery from trauma. Fear and stress (as result from those situations) directly affect brain function and learning. It is an amazing thing to see the change in learning as a child begins to recover from past trauma.

  125. oldandrewuk says:

    Well obviously we disagree about what “teaching” means, but that has nothing to do with any debate about institutions, it is about semantics. My point is that the way you have used the word “teaching” has resulted in you saying something completely absurd and I’m really just waiting to see whether you will notice or acknowledge this or keep trying to change the subject.

  126. oldandrewuk says:

    @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay

    The “going forward world”?

    Last time I looked the world was pretty much going in the same direction it has always been going in. Certainly, the need to unilaterally redefine words that are in common usage seems no more pressing now than it has ever done.

  127. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk Evidently “completely absurd” to you, seems just common sense to me. I say “teaching” as normally used is not a very useful way to think about the learning process as the world is evolving – “going forward.”

    Still waiting for you to help me see the precise phenomenon that “teaching” encapsulates. and I’m really just waiting to see whether you will notice or acknowledge this question or keep trying to change the subject.

  128. ToughLoveforX says:

    @oldandrewuk @frogphilp @RobinMay “world was pretty much going in the same direction it has always been going in.”

    Sorry for any confusion. In my conceptual framework the “world” is best understood as a complex adaptive system. Some networks are evolving quickly. Many are not. ‘Going forward” was meant to point to those parts of that complex adaptive system that are adapting and thus growing.

    The thought was the it would be good if “education” “teaching” and “learning” were framed within the constraints and opportunities of that “going forward world.”

    Your point about “words that are in common usage” can take us into an interesting conversation. If you would like to pursue , just let me know.

  129. oldandrewuk says:

    It seems common sense to you that locking somebody in a cupboard could be a form of teaching?

    You now leave me wondering if your idea of common sense is as strange as your idea of teaching.

    I am not defining teaching for you, because that would only undermine my point: that whatever the precise definition of teaching is, locking people in cupboards shouldn;t fit it.

  130. oldandrewuk says:

    @ToughLoveforX @frogphilp @RobinMay

    For pity’s sake. Do you talk like this in real life?

  131. ToughLoveforX says:

    Cmon. I said in a previous comment that the “locked in stuff” was an overstatement. If you want to share what you think is “teaching” v “learning” great. If not, then not. @oldandrewuk

  132. ToughLoveforX says:

    Pretty much. But you have to keep in mind that I live in Brooklyn.

  133. janmac60 says:

    Comment on learning via social media:

    I’ve learned more in the last few weeks by monitoring a social media yammer group than I have in the past year in class….. It’s an amazing group – I have seen discussions on questions I hadn’t thought about and received pointers towards great articles…… janmac60

    This was a comment I posted in a social media learning community. As a graduate student, my professors ask questions, point me in the direction of articles to read, and then assess whatever it is that I have learned when I submit a paper.

    In the yammer group – my colleagues bring up valid, real life questions, share articles, web sites and experiences.. and then comment on any comments that I make, guiding me to alternative ways of thinking – or simply agreeing with me or disagreeing with me.

    So – what’s the difference? I have hundreds of teachers in yammer – only a few in school. I don’t pay to share with the yammer colleagues- but I do pay for the privilege of learning at a college, where I will ultimately receive a diploma. Ultimately, I learn more in the yammer group….. So can anyone tell me how our society will be able to assess this learning? Is it invalid if I don’t take a test? I don’t think so… but I can hardly put “social learning” on the “Qualifications” section of my resume.. even if I did learn more.

  134. janmac60 says:

    @Sim Stewart I agree that the role of education has to change. I have taught in the middle school classroom (11-14 year olds), online at the undergraduate level and now online at the high school level. In all cases, we spend an inordinate amount of time stressing the importance of the final exam/the external exams/the standardized test…. This doesn’t mean that I don’t think that assessment is important. As a teacher, we must ensure that our students are learning (formative assessment) and that the objective of the class has been achieved… but surely we can come up with some way of showing what has been learned that is not a multiple choice, quick run through the machine test paper. Much of the change that will need to occur in education will have to start at the level of training teachers.

    We also need to start “connecting the dots” – to steal Paul’s phrase. Children currently go into a classroom for 45-54 minutes, then a 4 minute break and off to the next, completely segregated topic. There is little time for reflection and connection. The best attempt I have seen to connect the learning to the real world (which we ultimately must do) was with the IB program . We chose an overall question for the 6th grader s “what is the value of water” and every teacher connected their curriculum to that question. (Social Studies – how communities settle around water, math – how do we get water around the city (volume of pipes etc – art – how is water depicted in art – or how is it used in art.. PE – why do we need water for health… etc. ) If the purpose of education is promote lifelong learning (suitable or all life and academic activities, then we must begin to connect education to real life – and do so at an early age..

    Looking forward to hearing some more comments on my thoughts…..

  135. ToughLoveforX says:

    @janmac60 @Sim Stewart I’ve been following PYP for a while through the blog at http://whatedsaid.wordpress.com @whatedSaid on Twitter. A very helpful view of how the Big Udea approach can play out on the ground.

  136. janmac60 says:

    @ToughLoveforX @Sim Stewart@whatedsaid TL4X – thanks for sharing that blog. IB has a long history but their approach seems to work. )A little history – diplomats children often come together in one place, such as Geneva, and will return to their own countries after a few years and must be prepared for that return. Hence the approach to “how do we learn” – rather than how do we test. what has been learned and then writing curriculum around the test. ..

  137. ToughLoveforX says:

    @janmac60 @Sim Stewart@whatedsaid

    Thanks for the history. All new to me.

    From what I think I’ve read it seems that the PYP – primary school practice is getting lots of traction in Asia. Have also heard good things about it from Denver area in USA. Meanwhile there is a teacher run public high school in Newark that the newspaper said was applying for IB. My sense is it’s worth a close watch.

  138. @janmac60 Hi Janice, thanks for copying your comment here. Your story made me think about about how technology is disrupting the traditional education system. With students finding value in online communities of practice, sharing content, discussing relevant topics and supporting one another, in real time and non location specific, one has to wonder about how the existing education system caters for such trends.

  139. @jleffron Interesting, thanks Janet

  140. ToughLoveforX says:

    @simbeckhampson @jleffronJust to share, in the edukare approach mitigating “Fear and stress” for all students and teachers is an organizing element of the thought model. The maybe newish thing is exploring how this very old idea can be applied in many contexts in the service of fast replication.

  141. janmac60 says:

    @simbeckhampson I think that we are going to experience some sort of “revolution” here – learning from non-formal situations will have to be at least acknowledged – maybe we’ll see a business pop up that provides exams without the teaching. If you can pass the test, then you can get the equivalent of a diploma… I am watching University of the People very carefully – they cannot actually give out diplomas (yet) as they are not accredited – but it will be interesting to see where they end up …… The combination of Open Education resources, Distance Education , social media and easy access to the internet will bring about change… perhaps slowly at first – but I think once we open the door to acknowledging that learning can take place anywhere…anytime, we’ll see rapid changes.

  142. ToughLoveforX says:

    @janmac60 @simbeckhampson

    From what I think I see in the States it might be much faster than is obvious from not the US or watching the mainstream media. Lots of blended learning innovations going on.

    The dynamic to watch are the individual State budgets. In the US, education is not really a national issue. Every individual state and governor controls their state edu budget. Depending on the specific histories and politics of each state different solutions are emerging on the ground.

    As might be expected the structural changes are happening because of financing problems. In general Edu is financed by real estate taxes. The collapse of real estate prices is playing havoc with state financing. To save money blended learning is starting to appear in many places.

    I think it’s important for US watchers not in the USA to know that for many practical purposes our 300+million are not a Nation, but a collection of States that have always been the laboratory for innovation. By the time it gets to the national level the growth stage has been mostly completed.

  143. I’ve been following the conversation here over the last few days as it touches different areas, and wanted to add to the debate, coming at things from a slightly different angle. Much of what is being said I agree with, I strongly believe we need to constantly be evolving, exploring new objectives for educating and new methods in order to adapt, life in perpetual beta as the Internet Time Alliance would say. However, one thing I would suggest, is that treating education as something that exists independently, and as something that teachers or trainers are solely responsible for, seems flawed. Surely we have to consider external factors. The most obvious example of this is the effect the parents and child’s family background have on their child’s attitude to learning and indeed their ability to learn. A second, and increasingly important external factor is media, we can no longer control what young people are watching or reading. If the emotional base isn’t there for a person to learn, and if the messages they are picking up on in the media are contradictory, how can any educational method or indeed system work effectively? I’d be interested to hear people’s views on whether these issues fall under the remit of educators and educational organisations, and about example approaches or case studies that are dealing with them. Thanks, Sim.

  144. ToughLoveforX says:

    @Sim Stewart Your points are spot on. Education is not a stand alone enterprise. In a conversation on twitter at #ecosys managed by @SourcePoV we’ve been trying to frame “education” as a complex adaptive system. I think it’s fair to say that the work @graingerEd is doing in Alberta is taking that approach an applying it real life in his school district. You might want to take a look

    http://www.seangrainger.com/2011/01/edukare-new-paradigm-for-struggling.html

    and the posts following it to get a sense of how the thinking has played out so far.

  145. @ToughLoveforX@sourcepov @graingered Thanks, looks very interesting so will follow that, ‘drop out factories’ is a very telling phrase.

  146. @Sim Stewart Nice comment! I totally agree with this… “something that teachers or trainers are solely responsible for, seems flawed.” It fits well with my thoughts on this post ‘Education starts locally’: http://goo.gl/K1fT1

    Some notes I made from a John Abbot video with resonate:

    1) Home – Emotional Development

    2) Community – Inspiration for life in general

    3) School – Intellectual power, how to draw the ideas together

    Education – Joining of those three things to get balance

    Also see this link, sent to me via @ToughLoveforX http://goo.gl/gztCJ “Beyond The “31-Flavors” Approach To Education”

    I hope janet_frg may have time to add a comment on this topic, as she is an amazing source of knowledge on family background and external factors. If your not already, I can recommend her blog: http://www.4riversgroup.com/ also her curated content on Amplify is an excellent quelle: http://jleffron.amplify.com/

    “…we can no longer control what young people are watching or reading.” < I spent a good 6 months curating and learning about this aspect of media (overload) and it’s affects. If you click on the category ‘Addiction’ on the right, you will find posts that may interest you. Also it worth studying the effects from the Korean and Japanese perspectives where it is common place to have clinics for kids who have become addicted to technology. On that note, even in the UK clinics now exist for such circumstances. Without parental engagement and in the wrong circumstances it can be easy for kids to lose perspective of the boundaries.

    In the ‘good old’ days, it was the responsibility of parents to ensure that the right content in the right quantity was available. I remember as a kid, Mum would say, “No you can’t watch TV (media), go out and play”. With the boom in smartphone technology they now carry the media around with them, or at least the possibility to access it, 24/7, and Mum has no way of knowing what they are accessing, this to me, spells danger! You may also find kinkon an interesting start-up to follow.

    In essence, I do think this falls under the remit of education, but under an expanded scope of education, ie, all of us, the community at large, not just teachers and schools. We all have the responsibility to ensure the education system addresses a balanced approach to media that takes into consideration a wide array of circumstances.

  147. @ToughLoveforX @Sim Stewart@sourcepov @graingered Nice share TL4X – that is a great post!

  148. @janmac60 I think the revolutions you talk of is well underway :) Did you know that in Denmark the first time kids get to do official test is when they apply for college entry: this article may inspire: http://goo.gl/3gYtr

    Also, they are able to use the Web in exams! (http://goo.gl/KHTnY) We don’t need to wonder why they are leading world league tables, do we!

  149. ToughLoveforX says:

    @Sim Stewart @graingered@sourcepov Just to share “dropout factories” is the term that Obama Adminstrationt has used in the discourse. An under appreciated fact is that appx 1500 of our high schools account for over 50% of the drop outs. It’s a typical pattern seen used in public health to craft interventions for epidemics.

    It seems a bit too complicated for our mass media to communicate, but the reality is that all the efforts of “Race to the Top” is focused like a laser on those 1500+ schools.

    My hunch is that like many other public policies the visible actors tend to think it’s “about them.” In this case at least. It’s not.

  150. elearn says:

    education is being able to do more through more:

    a. contact with others
    b. engaging in diverse experiences
    c. mistakes that don’t kill or maim you
    d. reflection

  151. @elearn Nice, thanks for your comment… c. resonates ;)

  152. Slideshow: The best of purpos/ed – http://simbeckhampson.com/?p=3887 Which is your favourite?

  153. Pingback: The Purpose of Education – Let’s talk! – Corporate e-learning Strat Dev

  154. Pingback: The Purpose of Community | Simbeck Hampson

  155. Pingback: The Purpose of Education | Simbeck Hampson | Motivation

  156. Pingback: Nurture Compassion in Education | Simbeck Hampson

  157. Pingback: Adaptive Learning: Success Breeds Success | Simbeck Hampson

  158. Pingback: Internet Time Alliance | Nurture Compassion in Education

  159. Pingback: Children can learn almost anything if... | Simbeck Hampson

  160. Pingback: How Music Should Be Taught In Schools

  161. Pingback: Education | Pearltrees

  162. Hi, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just wondering if
    you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you stop it, any plugin or anything you can suggest?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any help is very much appreciated.

  163. check this says:

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted
    to give a quick shout out and tell you I really enjoy reading your blog posts.
    Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover
    the same topics? Thank you so much!

Leave a Reply


  • Show Posts From:

  • Top 5 Shared Posts

  • Social Share Statistics

    • 1,726
    • 533
    • 162
    • 216
    • 244
    • 569


  • follow us in feedly

  • Subscribe by email












  • Favourite Quotes

    Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. — Margaret Mead, http://simbeckhampson.com/2012/02/12/common-purpose/