As humans and the entities we create; industry, companies, organisations, we are great at making ‘stuff’, designing systems and processes. Yet we are often astounded when they ‘work’. Flabbergasted even. They work but we constantly ask – do they do what we intended?
The Learning paradigm we currently operate within is one created by us. It works. Its works to conform and comply. It works very well. Almost too well. It works because it is idiosyncratic. It is insular, inward looking. The Learning paradigm as it currently posits is designed to provide data to governments and auditors to justify expenditure (be it public or private funding). It ensures that we can produce widgets (Don’t get me started on education not being a commodity as I’ve already ranted about that previously). It does not, unfortunately, focus on learning…
Here in, however, lies the conundrum. If education/learning is seen for the most of the developed world as the driver to prosperity in our world economy, why then do we persist in holding education back through compliance and conformity? One paradigm is counteracting the other. Oh mer gerd!
Every human is different and so parenting of each individual child is different. We provide different medications to patients based on their physiological makeup but we educate the same for all (there are some exceptions to this rule but) by enlarge we educate to fit parameters. We educate on topics and jobs rather than skills that can apply to a wide variety of scenarios and vocations.
We judge individuals on narrow bands of success, again on topics rather than broad skills. We judge businesses on more narrow bands, profit/loss/growth (purely in financial/resource terms) For goodness sakes we even refer to ourselves as resources. WTF?
True learning and true education forces us to take long-term approaches. To realise and accept that learning is long haul. Results do not come over night, but when they do, the long-term results are so much greater than simply the sum of their parts (which is the classic short-term strategy).
Sir Ken Robinson in his MindShift article on How to Create a Culture For Valuable Learning firmly believes that creativity is a central element of what sets humans apart from other forms of life on earth and so educators’ mission should be to bring out the unique creative energy within each child.When our culture and therefore our society, is focused on creativity, we learn more about ourselves and our surroundings. This enable us to think progressively and adapt in the way in which we respond to conundrums like those above. In essence, it provides us with the tools to improve/change the system. We can extricate ourselves from the morass of conformity and compliance and emerge triumphant, focused on growth, specifically in terms of culture and learning. We start to produce organic systems. Systems that learn from themselves. Systems that almost ‘self heal’ and improve without adding complexity or bureaucracy.
Our culture thinks outwardly to solutions and embraces change. Our culture manages differences with tact and aplomb. Our culture educates us all without having to be taught. We learn because we want to. We learn because it is ingrained in our culture.