Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lifelong Learning

Long story, but today while researching positive deviants for an upcoming workshop I ran across an article in a back issue of Psychology Today:

"Our current education system was created in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and was modeled after the new factories of the industrial revolution. Public schools, set up to supply the factories with a skilled labor force, crammed education into a relatively small number of years. We have tried to pack more and more in while extending schooling up to age 24 or 25, for some segments of the population. In general, such an approach still reflects factory thinking--get your education now and get it efficiently, in classrooms in lockstep fashion. Unfortunately, most people learn in those classrooms to hate education for the rest of their lives.

The factory system doesn't work in the modern world, because two years after graduation, whatever you learned is out of date. We need education spread over a lifetime, not jammed into the early years--except for such basics as reading, writing, and perhaps citizenship. Past puberty, education needs to be combined in interesting and creative ways with work. " (Emphasis mine--jb)


From Estroff, M. Trashing Teens. By: Marano, Hara Estroff, Psychology Today, Mar/Apr2007,40 (2).


Anonymous said...

I often tell people, the only useful thing I learned in High School is the ability to touch type (70 WPM, thank you very much!). University was a little different, I tell people I spent 5 years and $25,000 learning how to become a skeptic.
In the end, the most usefull skill education can teach is (imho) the ability to find the information you need, and learn the skills you need to in the limited amount of time you have available to you.
The rest is just details.

Jane Bozarth said...

Amen, Jason. You also bring up a real problem in much education AND training: the need to differentiate information that the learner needs to memorize v. what he/she merely just needs to know how and where to find.

My favorite example of this relates to having to memorize state capitols when I was a kid. I travel a lot: I don't need to know (or care) what the state's capitol is, I need to know where the state's biggest airport is.

Karl Kapp said...

I am with you on this one. Our school systems and educational models in schools and corporations is broken. We need to think "Learning Process" and not "Learning Event" when we think of learning as an entire process and that it is ongoing, we paint a much more realistic vision of what training can be.

And the airport/state capital thing...amen.

Anonymous said...

I agree with all of the above.

In addition, I find it amazing that you are expected to memorize all of this information (like you remember half of what you learn during your time "learning". Instead, we should be teaching our youth "how to fish" for information and then encourage discussions to "what's next - where are we going" to harness new ideas.