Sharing thoughts about how to tackle challenges facing schools in the 21st Century.
Monday, December 5, 2016
Don't Go Back to School
Sharing highlights from Kio Stark's, Don't Go Back To School: A Handbook for Learning Anything. Don’t Go Back to School tells you how to learn what you need to learn in order to do what you need to do, without having to bend your life or your finances to fit into traditional schooling. This guide provides concrete strategies and resources for getting started as an independent learner.
My research revealed four facts shared by almost every successful form of learning outside of school: It isn’t done alone. For many professions, credentials aren’t necessary, and the processes for getting credentials are changing. The most effective, satisfying learning is learning that which is more likely to happen outside of school. People who are happiest with their learning process and at learning new things—in any educational environment—are people who are learning for the right reasons and who reflect on their own way of learning to figure out which processes and methods work best for
Learning your own way means finding the methods that work best for you and creating conditions that support sustained motivation. Perseverance, pleasure, and the ability to retain what you learn are among the wonderful byproducts of getting to learn using methods that suit you best and in contexts that keep you going
Many people I interviewed described jumping in at the point of fascination and working their way in every direction to find what they needed to understand their subject. People who learn this about the value of connections they stumble into along the way—the purposeful feeling they bits and pieces in the context of an immediate need to understand something they are strongly motivated to understand, rather than because it’s the next chapter in the textbook
These are things such as grades, arbitrary deadlines, and test-based evaluation, with its “correct” answers. There’s artificially scarce rewards such as praise, attention, curve-based and diplomas—and for genuinely scarce resources such as scholarships. Often, this all has exactly the opposite effect that’s intended. To the people I spoke with who found school to be a poor learning environment, these motivational structures felt contrived, and pushed inherently smart, curious people to drop
First, autonomy means that you follow your own path. You learn what you want to learn, when and how you want to learn it, for your own reasons. Your impetus to learn comes from within because you control the conditions of your learning rather than working within a structure that’s pre-made and inflexible
It’s about triangulating information. You have to go through a lot of different sources, trying to see what makes sense, asking people who might know, and compare what you find. See who agrees with whom and figure out why. It’s both the source and the voice of what you’re reading that tell you how to interpret it. You have to learn this by doing it. There’s no substitution for practice
It embodied everything about DIY ethics that I love: Nobody checking credentials, nobody asking if you have any real skills to do the things that you say you’re going to do, and instead really empowering people to do those things
You have these happy accidents where you do something the wrong way, but your work ends up having a different style or flavor by happenstance because you haven’t gone through the normal route of learning how to do it