Compulsory education doesn’t often lead to real learning. That’s because compulsory education is coerced. There’s no active enrolment.*
we care most about the things we have struggled to understand**
There are many things I cannot do, but there are a few things that I can.
This is the reality with which I begin my day.
I reflect in this way because I want to do more with this little bit of responsibility I have in life: to someone how make a meaningful contribution into the lives of others.
Limitations are not only about what I have not but also what I have.
There is a magic in this, some alchemy to play with.
Alan Jacobs writes about more appearing to us when we are prepared to step outside of our understanding and expectation:
Surprise is the great enabler of seeing.^
Inauthenticity, perhaps, is the product of real learning:
What have you been put on the Earth to do? Is it not the creation of the “inauthentic,” that is the purposefully crafted, in order to deliver to others the gifts and simulacrum of authenticity. That’s why we call it Art, and why, in some crazy way, it’s realer the real and truer than true.^^
We each see differently, formed by our lives and not of someone else’s. Embracing this allows us to imagine what others have not.
It does not have to be some great and grand gesture. Indeed, it is more likely to be the small creation of love and beauty that will make someone’s life, somewhere, better.
*From Seth Godin’s blog: “The dog ate my homework”;
**Leon Festinger, quoted in Richard Sennett’s Building and Dwelling;
^From Alan Jacobs’ Snakes and Ladders blog: Architectural Thoughts;
^^Steven Pressfield, quoted in Seth Godin’s The Practice.
2 thoughts on “Inauthentic learning”
Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: “You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society. —Dorris Lessing
Thank you for sharing this, Donna. A good prompt for sharing Ken Robinson’s thoughts on the industrial education system.