More Blueberries

Yesterday’s blueberry post generated a good deal of feedback and discussion, most of which (unfortunately :() did not show up on the blog.

One piece of “off blog” feedback that I thought particularly insightful came from a long-time educational leader I know. It’s reproduced below, with minor editing for clarity, with permission:

I agree with and really like your analysis re governments by definition needing to serve heterogeneous groups, where as market economies do not… and in fact are rewarded for narrowing the field.

But I want to add one other way in which we need to view the difference between business and education. This may seem like edu-speak… but… here goes…

It is an old view that educators “shape” or “make” children into something, in the way that an ice cream maker makes ice cream, for example. From my perspective (and that of all constructivists), all children are born with an innate ability to “make meaning” out of their environment, the social interactions and daily routines they go through, etc.

This is what learning really is. We do not “make them into” something. They are not “products”. We facilitate, guide, even trick and manipulate them into finding their own way and growing into the people that we want and hope for them to be.

This is far from being analogous to ice cream making, or making any product, really. The old arguments and tired metaphors come from people who really do not understand education. I reject these arguments before they ever start, because they are nonsensical from the get go. For me, it’s like arguing whether the Lakers play football better than the Dodgers. None of it lines up!

I think we need to find a way to help people understand what learning itself (as distinct from the education system) is all about, and that it is not what we were led to believe as young students. ¬†Too often we in the education world keep propagating these old notions, which then makes it harder to reframe the argument and shift — dare I say it — the paradigm.

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