How children learn, and why some adults carry on learning for a lifetime – and others don’t – has fascinated me for years. As director of the Education 2000 Trust in England I was fortunate, in the early 1990s to meet and work with educators, researchers and policy makers from many countries. In early 1995 I approached several English businesses to sponsor the 21st Century Learning Initiative in Washington, DC. The group we set-up comprised some 60 educational researchers and practitioners from England, the US, Canada, Germany, Israel, Australia, Poland, Venezuela, Ethiopia, Colombia, Denmark, Lebanon, Scotland and Scandinavia. Between 1995 and 1997 we held six conferences at the Johnson Foundation’s Frank Lloyd Wright mansion in Racine, Wisconsin.
The Initiative focused on learning, not schooling, for the obvious reason – at least to us – that if we weren’t clear about how people learned, we couldn’t begin a proper consideration of educational reform. Our standpoint was that the crisis in education stems from misunderstandings about how humans learn rather than any generalized failure of schools and teachers. In other words, we quickly realized we were dealing with a crisis in childhood, not simply a crisis in schooling. The conferences echoed the more widespread problem of how society at large can convert disparate new findings on learning into useful route maps for the future of education.
Read more at The 21st Century Learning Initiative.
Fifth graders told they would be graded on how well they learned a social studies lesson had more trouble understanding the main point of the text than did those who were told that no grades would be involved.
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