TED Conversations

Goran Kimovski

Senior Technology Consultant, OperatingDev.com


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What is the true value (if any) of organized schooling?

There are so many people suggesting that schools kill creativity, learning is innate & children can learn by themselves, no real life skills are acquired in the current school system, etc. -- the list is really long! If this is all true and we all agree that organized schooling needs big reform, I think we have to step back and ask the ultimate question about the value of organized schooling!

I make a distinction between learning, education and schooling -- with schooling being an attempt to govern/institutionalize education and education representing formalized learning. I think this is important as often people refer to school as the only place where education happens, ignoring programs like the Khan Academy or not to mention the millions of homeschoolers in US alone. They also confuse education with learning, but Sugata Mitra's child-driven education shows that the learning that happens when kids are given tools and left on their own devices is neither formal, nor it can be governed. (He uses the term education tad wrongly, though I suppose with purpose as his is an example of bringing learning and education together.)

I would like to challenge the TED community to think about the value of their own schooling or the value their kids currently in the school system are getting and share their thoughts here!


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    Mar 21 2011: I find this applicable to so many other subjects! While I can see how it would be hard to run some chemistry experiments outside the classroom, I still remember how some of my early exposure to it made me interested to learn more -- I still like to put bread in my mouth and chew it for a long time, resisting the urge to swallow, so I can get the sweetness that comes as sugars get formed by the chemical reactions in the mouth ;-)

    Overcoming the false environment problem and extending the learning outside the classroom is a major issue that requires involvement from the students, the parents, the community really. For example, to keep presence of French in our home (and we're already bi-lingual with English and Macedonian) we're turning the language into one we use to play. With a bit of an effort on my side, I am trying to remember few words and learn few sentences myself and then challenge my daughter to teach me more by playing guessing or matching games. This past weekend we did a pretend game calling some girl from Paris on the "phone" and my daughter spent 3-4 minutes talking in French with her in an unscripted conversation -- it turned out the girl was poor and we needed to make some cloths for her, but the materials were on a different planet ;-)

    I'd love to hear more ideas how to keep the experience in the schools spill out of its walls. Rather than turning to homeschooling, I would like to help schools reinvent themselves so they can offer rich learning experiences and become environments where the authentic self is appreciated and the learning is the goal!

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