Many of us are living in the transition from summer mode to school mode. For me that means preparing lessons for new courses. For you it might be supporting people going through this transition or preparing yourself for this transition. No matter your place in this transition, this transition is in the air and we can sense it almost like shifts in the sky before a rain storm.
In my preparation, I’m thinking deeply about how the ways we learn are different today than the ways we learned thirty years ago. These changes impact young people, for sure, but they also are impacting me, both as a teacher and learner. Teaching and learning use to be delegated to a particular realm of my life – formal education environments. As a lifelong learner that meant I spent many hours (and dollars) engaged in learning in academic institutions. (SCHOOLS!) Now my teaching and learning is more integrated in all aspects of my life. Like when I get a new piece of technology, I go into learning mode and seek out teachers. Some teachers I pay (Geek Squad, for example) and some are people within my regular networks (my kids, colleagues at work, friends, neighbors, etc). Sometimes I’m clearly the student and someone is clearly the teacher. In other cases, I can be both teacher and learner. Like as a knitter, I sometimes ask others to teach me something, a new stitch, and as they do they may ask something that I know and I shift into teacher mode. When I step back and look at my life today, teaching and learning, learning and teaching is a regular, normal part of all areas of my life. Sometimes my teachers are people and sometimes my teachers are videos of teachers or posts of interesting articles. With all the digital tools we have today, I have access to so many more places and ways to learn then ever before.
As a lifelong learner, I’m wired to learn and I will seek out learning opportunities. Given the flattening of learning and access to learning tools, learning is so much more integrated into life. This reality means formal learning (the school-like learning environments) have to revisit the ways they engage people in learning. Sir Ken Robinson has been studying learning and education for some time and has some great insights into the shifts taking place in learning and what it means for education. Here’s a great video on his discoveries. Watch, learn, and perhaps let it ignite your rethinking of learning.
This RSA Animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA’s Benjamin Franklin award. (If you want some other videos on teaching and learning go to the video section of my website and see the teaching and learning tab.)