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Goran Kimovski

Senior Technology Consultant, OperatingDev.com

TEDCRED 500+

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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 friend of mine just shared this with me: http://www.slate.com/id/2288402 (Why Preschool Shouldn't Be Like School -- New research shows that teaching kids more and more, at ever-younger ages, may backfire.)

    I'd like to share few excerpts here as they're highly relevant to this discussion:

    "Direct instruction really can limit young children's learning. Teaching is a very effective way to get children to learn something specific. But it also makes children less likely to discover unexpected information and to draw unexpected conclusions."

    "That means, it's more important than ever to give children's remarkable, spontaneous learning abilities free rein. That means a rich, stable, and safe world, with affectionate and supportive grown-ups, and lots of opportunities for exploration and play. Not school for babies."

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