Jul 02, 2020
Most people don't see the distinction between enabling learners and preparing them as per a curriculum, because the premise is that a curriculum enables young people. In reality, it can't be farther from the truth. Education, when it is prescriptive and mandatory, only produces consumers, not citizens.
In his brilliant book, Community: The Structure of Belonging , Peter Block categorizes people as ‘producers’ or ‘citizens', and 'consumers'. He says that citizens produce the future; they do not wait, beg, or dream for the future in hope. Consumers, on the other hand, give power away and believe that their own needs can be best satisfied by the actions of others (from elected officials and school curricula to shopping malls).
Unless we put the learner's passions and interests ahead of the curriculum, we can never truly claim to create producers. In the better method of education, which we refer to as heutagogy, learners are driven to learning by their own interests. And in the poorer but commonly sought method, pedagogy (teaching of theoretical concepts), learners are prepared as per a curriculum to be exactly like everyone else their age, in that year. As a result, they are assembled, not enabled.
So, the next time your child says, I want to learn something, or I don't like these subjects, take that as a sign of their resistance to being mere consumers and find ways to enable them in the things they are excited to do.
It may feel like a roller-coaster when you start out, but ask anyone who has enjoyed riding them; it is by leaning in that the experience is exhilarating, not by resisting it. And know this: change is disturbing when it is done to us, but exhilarating when it is done by us.
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