What are schools for?



Umm, learning?

Learning, in my experience, is rarely discussed in schools. If brought up in conversation it is almost immediately morphed into “student achievement” or some other term that dodges a close and sincere examination of what constitutes learning.

Learning is a process – not a thing. It is fluid and nonlinear – and not a collection of discrepant data that may or may not describe the effects of whether a student ate breakfast the morning of the standardized test. It’s highly personal and steeped in the context of questioning, seeking, and sharing via the perspective of the questioner, seeker, and sharer.

Learning is an insatiable and innate response to our neural drive to identify patterns and to predict based on these patterns.

Schools must truly embrace learning … warm conversations about the nature of learning and of learning experiences for everyone – students and teachers, alike and together – must pervade classrooms and hallways and thus serve as the school’s essential life force. (Whoa.)

And by productive I mean the the learning process is one which engenders and reinforces wanting to learn more. Absent wanting to learn, the learning context is unproductive or counterproductive (Sarason, 2004).

Dearest teachers, students, and administrators:

Existing to explore the conceptions of productive learning will help create dynamic and flexible schools bent on creative and deep thinking rather than efficiency and conformity.

To this I have but one response:


Umm, yes.