Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who is Friend, who is Foe?

It bothers me that there is a dividing wall between those people whom society considers teachers and those people whom society considers students. I have never sensed this division, maybe because I attended a Quaker high school, where such divisions did not exist even in our speech. Before high school, I was probably too young to care, it has been a very long time.
I do remember high school, as I imagine all high school learners do. What will those learners remember and learn from you? I treat all learners the same, whether they are 92 or 14. I interact with an intellect, I guide a brain, I use the tools I have been given to me to help them think. I put up no artificial boundary wall between learners. Such a wall does not exist in the 'real' world, why should it exist anywhere else? I am conversing with learners via Meebo or Skype outside the prescribed walls, prescribed bells, prescribed schedules. I see nothing wrong with this and obviously neither do those learners or their parents.
We need to destroy these vestiges of industrial age education and move on. Twenty-first learning is 24/7, it is via Meebo IMs, it is via Skype. Lifelong learning does not happen in a box, neat rows, according to a bell schedule, cafeteria-style menu, or only within four walls.
Either we embrace 21st century learning fully or we don't. There is no middle of the road. The new paradigm insists we are all learners here. Are you?
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