Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Short summary of a Graham Attwell talk in which "he argued that he wanted to de-school society to enable real and effective life-long learning" - no link, but this is typical. Wolfgang Greller responds, "it would be very destructive to society to leave learning entirely to self-arranged activities [because learning] also includes learning about your dislikes and opening new, unexpected doors." This is a common response, the essence of which is the fear that learners will make the wrong choices, learn the wrong things, or not learn at all. Which leads me to ask: are we doing so well now? Children grow up today illiterate, they grow up with racist or other prejudices, they grow up violent, and millions upon millions grow up without an education at all. I'm not saying we should suddenly shut the door - that would be irresponsible. But I think that, instead of trying more and more management (which, incidentally, makes education more and more expensive), we could try less management. Watching, yes, to be sure no great disaster happens. But letting go.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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Last Updated: Aug 13, 2020 8:27 p.m.