“Schools are designed on the assumption that there is a secret to everything in life; that the quality of life depends on knowing that secret; that secrets can be known only in orderly successions; and that only teachers can properly reveal these secrets. An individual with a schooled mind conceives of the world as a pyramid of classified packages accessible only to those who carry the proper tags.” ~ Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
“Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.” ~ E.M. Forster
As I am approaching the end of what has been an interesting path through three completely different learning programs, I ask:
- What is learning?
- What is teaching?
- Is there actual earning happening if we have only been exposed to concepts, ideas and processes?
- Can learning happen without conversation, discussion even challenging and being challenged by others?
- Can true learning happen in us if our paradigms, values, beliefs and arrogance of what we think we know and care for have not been deeply challenged?
- Can learning be boxed to “x amount” of days or hours a week and would it “end” when the course ends and we are given our grades?
- Can true learning happen in us if we don’t go through reflection and eventual acting g on that learning?
- Can learning be measured and weighted by assignments, tests and examinations?
- Is a certificate at then of our “learning” proof that we are better people, that this process has improved the world around us or that we have the potential of solving any of the issues affecting the world?
“Most learning is not the result of instruction. It is rather the result of unhampered participation in a meaningful setting. Most people learn best by being “with it,” yet school makes them identify their personal, cognitive growth with elaborate planning and manipulation.” ~ Ivan Illich, Deschooling Society
As I am also approaching the closing of another year and my changing involvement with community groups and projects I wanted to ask:
- What is “community”
- Who “represents” community? Who represents you and me and what we care for?
- What is our role in community?
- Are we using our time and gifts wisely?
- What is group-think and how can we avoid it?
- How can we challenge people to help them face reality (and being challenged ourselves) and still love and care for them?
- Are leaders necessary? Who appoints them? When and how would they realize when their time for leaving has come?
“re-examine all you have been told in school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem, and have the richest fluency, not only in its words, but in the silent lines of its lips and face, and between the lashes of your eyes, and in every motion and joint of your body. [From the preface to Leaves Grass]” ~ Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
“Carry a candle in the dark, be a candle in the dark, know that you’re a flame in the dark.” ~ Ivan Illich