Thursday, December 20, 2012

Breaking the Learning Limit

Speed limit signs are designed to keep us safe. They suggest an appropriate speed that keeps the flow of traffic efficient in an order fashion, and why not?  Maintaining order minimizes the risk for accidents and that's a good thing.

Driving is to a car like learning is to education, but there is a vast difference. Drivers and their speed must be regulated in a uniform manner to maintain order and keep everyone safe.  Traditional schools operate in a uniform fashion by regulating the amount of instruction that everyone receives and setting aside the same amount of time to learn each subject.  Some view education as the structure of one size fits all, but real learning doesn't work that way. Some learn at a rapid pace, while others are slower, more methodical learners. Then, there are the erratic learners.  

If students learn too slow, go too fast or run completely off the road in their learning, do we view that as a violation or as a great thing?  Learning doesn't have the risks of injury like driving does, but in education there are lots of learning limit signs in place.

Learning limit signs keep learners under control. They tell students the required conditions for learning content. Learning limit signs tell students the pace or amount of time that they have to learn. If you are a fast learner, slow down. If you are a slow learner, speed up. The flow of learning traffic must keep moving so organization is regulated. If your vehicle for learning has a flat tire (inability to learn a concept), you will need to get off of the road because learning traffic cannot be impeded.   Does this philosophy of learning guarantee learning?  Of course not!

Learning cannot be something that is controlled or uniform. Learning must be limitless and fluid. Students must have personalized learning opportunities that cater to their optimal speed of learning. Teachers must know in advance which students learn best at a slower pace while creating opportunities for students to learn at a faster pace.

Some students don't like to drive their learning on the traditional road of learning and need encouragement and opportunities to take their learning off-road.  Off-road learners like to explore unchartered territory because getting off the beaten path empowers authentic engagement.  Off-road learning doesn't necessarily fit into the traditional education model, but it must be acknowledged and embraced.

Learning is a limitless activity. It works best when the driver has freedom from  regulation for how best to reach their learning destination and at which speed is the best for the learner to get there.  

So what learning limit signs are in place in your school?  If you don't know, you haven't looked for them yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment