Learning different #change11

Differences in learning

Rhizomatic thoughts on learning. Learning is part of the rhizome and  connected as such with other appearances. Learning is wider, is more than academic or school  learning. Important facts in life you did not learn in school: Parenting,  talking,  being afraid of mice or spiders,  social skills,  coping with stress. In school we learn of our fellow students to behave like students, to talk like educated persons, some social skills, to tell jokes. We may learn from our teachers  (as from other people) by example, how to dress, how to behave like a teacher, facial expressions, language. Patients in therapy do unlearn fear and angst. Fear and angst are ‘unconscious’ learned and can be unlearned. Baby’s do learn body movements and facial expressions.
To learn is to connect to appearances, it is becoming convinced, to get habits, to get used to, to understand, to discover, to be disappointed, etc. When learning slow, one could become aware of differences in learning and learned.

Rhizomatic or analytic

I do try not to analyse learning as in Learner Weblog, Analyzing learning could be important for educational design. But rhizomatic learning and connective learning do not fit into designed teaching. Educational design  aims on small bits of learning and misses the biggest part of learning. Any designed action of a teacher or learner could have unwanted, unseen, unintended effects in a learner. The good teachers are aware of that, but as these effects are no part of the test, school as a system does not care about these effects.

Are schools the right solution to our problems?

Schools in the past were organized to deliver good citizens and  workers, be it lower or higher education. Cooperation, obedience, and other educational goals were build in the organization of the school system. The artifacts of history still have effects on students in our times.  “We are brought up, educationally speaking, sitting in neat rows and columns of chairs, listening to instructor-driven lectures, and completing multiple-choice exams at pre-determined intervals.”  (Rob)

I did visit with students several schools in foreign countries on exchange programs. I did teach in a vocational college for assistant nurses. We visited medical schools for nurses abroad, because schools for assistant nurses are non-existent in other countries. English was the language. My (Dutch)  students do not learn English in vocational college. (Only in earlier courses). The foreign nurse students do learn English, their education is of a higher level.
Somewhere in the program the students had to discuss subjects and answer questions of students. In all cases foreign students were not certain, hesitated, did not ask questions, did not dare to speak. My students were free, did dare to speak. “If you have not a question, I will tell you something about my home town …”  They were more autonomous than the foreign students. The foreign students did learn more, but were not able to use what they learned.

In my opinion my students did not make a decision to be (more) autonomous, the other students did somehow learn  to be less autonomous.  And nobody did purposefully teach them so, I assume.
Babys are helpless, but in a way autonomous. (My baby “knows what she wants”) A baby could learn ( when growing up,  in school, or at home) autonomy is bad or its autonomy could be fostered by parents and others.

Becoming autonomous is becoming able to resist group think and group speak, it is becoming a responsible self. In our world we need autonomous people, not obedient, but critical. Even the person who cleans the roads from snow and ice.  Becoming autonomous needs ‘stealth mentoring‘ , in short:  give attention to students and praise what deserves praise.

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4 thoughts on “Learning different #change11

  1. Thanks, Jaap, I appreciate this reflection. In particular, I like your point that “Any designed action of a teacher or learner could have unwanted, unseen, unintended effects in a learner” In my world, the teachers and the teaching designers are sometimes different people so I think designers have to be added to the list of those who potentially cause unintended effects or restrictions on autonomous learning.

  2. […] Learning is not only for little children. Most teachers seem to connect learning with children. But we humans do learn always. I doubt if it possible not to learn. It (Rhizomatic Learning) freely admits the beautiful complexity of the human experience, and thus, by proximity, the sheer craziness of the learning process. This idea, not so much a learning theory as it is a clever and accurate metaphor, describes learning as having no beginning nor an end. School is not the only place to learn. Think of all knowledge skills; behaviors; believes you learn after you left school. Humans do learn everywhere. […]

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