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Claire Dillon

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What can be done to get the most out of one's schooling? What would you change about your education experience?

From other people's opinions and my experiences in the American Midwest, it seems most schools focus on their students' test performance and few classes prioritize true, authentic learning. I was disappointed when the classes I took during my first year of college -- or perhaps the aspirations of all but a fraction of my classmates -- were a continuation of this mindset.

I think I'm missing something and would love to hear your thoughts. What can students do to get the most out of their education? What do you wish you had done differently, if anything? Is this something I have to discover on my own? Thanks in advance for your insight.

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  • Sep 20 2011: If we look at the overall process from beginning in a family and moving on through kindergarten, junior school, high school and so on, one thing hat gets learned, largely through osmosis is how to belong.

    In earlier days, when our contexts were comprehensible, that worked fine. The family, the school, the village ... were all obvious to the growing child. Obedience was the first thing one learned, mostly without acrimony. 'It takes a village to educate a child'. The skill of belonging just happened. But now where are the suitable 'villages'?

    Teachers now need to attend to helping every child to learn to belong. What skills are about belonging that are needed to be able to feel that one belongs to these invisible groups, organisations, communities - the whole human race indeed. What organisational structure? What kind of leadership is needed? What activities help? And so on.

    Africa has something to teach us. How do they enable children to learn to belong as a fundamental part of their learning? They have a concept of Ubuntu (look it up!): how do they use it?

    When I don't feel I belong and the place I am in does not belong to me I'll rebel. And I have done lots of times - and never regretted it. I'll give everything I have when I feel I belong. I bet I'm not alone!

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