Last night, I tuned into the first hour of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Debate with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. In the first few minutes, I heard education mentioned several times, but I never heard many specifics or actual plans of a concrete nature. (Perhaps I am naive and overly optimistic that I would hear such… one can dream… one should dream.)
So, we want to enhance education so that, among other reasons, we can improve the economy. Maybe we should work to align education and the economy more purposefully. Perhaps business and education and non-profit could be considered three strands of the same chord. Perhaps they could play for the same team. Perhaps students and faculty should be considered the incredible resources they are for transforming school into more “real life.” Or for transforming more “real life” into school.
If you want to get better at the guitar, what do you do? Do you mostly sit and listen to others play the guitar? No. You PLAY THE GUITAR!
If you want to get better at soccer, what do you do? Do you mostly sit in desks and watch someone lecture on how to play soccer? No. You PLAY MORE SOCCER!
If you want to get better as an artist, what do you do? Do you mostly use your senses only to collect information in your head like a vessel to be filled? No. You MAKE ART!
Maybe if we want learners to know how to create and contribute to the economy and the national citizenship as producers of value, we should work on an educational system that more systemically facilitates students PRACTICING such now!
[For the record - I think aspiring guitarists should listen to other musicians. I think soccer players should watch film and other games and listen to their coaches. I think artists should observe other art and visit museums. But, I think these aspiring creators should spend a huge balance of their time... creating. Creating things that matter for real audiences and learning by doing. Seems simple to me. School should be more like what we know works for the rest of our learning lives. Teachers and students are fully capable of this. I do realize the transformation is not "simple," but we could do this together. I have no doubts.]