I decided to get to work creating a learning environment more conducive to producing the types of questions that create lifelong learners rather than savvy test-takers.
I have come to the conclusion that “teaching” can actually be a hindrance to learning, especially when it is assumed that learning requires it.
Consider the often-heard lament, “some students are just not cut out for school.” The statement passes without question or even a hint of protest, yet think about what the statement says when we replace “school” with what school should be all about: “learning.” Some students are just not cut out for learning? Nobody would dare make the statement. Learning is the hallmark of humanity. We are all cut out for learning. It is what makes us human. If our students are “not cut out for school”, perhaps we have made the mold too narrow or inflexible, or more likely, just not meaningful enough to inspire a student to fit in.
What is it like to work in a group? You have four brains.
Justin - student, age 10
Positive interdependence means that when you succeed, I succeed, too; my interest in your learning is matched by your interest in mine.
Recognizing that nowadays one can no longer remain within one’s shell or on one’s home territory, the respectful mind notes and welcomes differences between human individuals and between human groups, tries to understand theses “others”, and seeks to work effectively with them. In a world where we are all interlinked, intolerance or disrespect is no longer a viable option.
Schools alone cannot do the job. The burden of education must be shared by parents, neighbours, the traditional and digital media, the church, and other communal institutions.
In this groundbreaking book, Alfie Kohn shows that while manipulating people with incentives seems to work in the short run, it is a strategy that ultimately fails and even does lasting harm. Our workplaces and classrooms will continue to decline, he argues, until we begin to question our reliance on a theory of motivation derived from laboratory animals.Drawing from hundreds of studies, Kohn demonstrates that people actually do inferior work when they are enticed with money, grades, or other incentives. Programs that use rewards to change people’s behavior are similarly ineffective over the long run. Promising goodies to children for good behavior can never produce anything more than temporary obedience. In fact, the more we use artificial inducements to motivate people, the more they lose interest in what we’re bribing them to do. Rewards turn play into work, and work into drudgery.