School work without schooling

What do you think really constitutes "school work" and what falls short of that? I'm thinking that "school work" gets defined by the parameters of the system in which it is performed. When the system incorporates classrooms and/or online scheduled meeting times, school work must be highly compliant within constrained activities. When the system provides authorities in print and in person, school work gets defined in terms of covering the material or studying subject matter. When the system gives grades for timely attendance, submittals  and "participation", school work becomes an experience of getting gamed by the system. When school work gets dictated by schooling, the results will be extremely problematic as we're seeing in K-12 and higher ed programs.

When a system excludes meeting times, authorities and grading, several other versions of "school work" become possible:

  1. working at formulating better questions from what is already personally and uniquely understood and unknown
  2. striving to get more useful, insightful and inspiring answers to those personal questions
  3. finding others who appear close enough to one's own understanding in order to be helpful, exemplary and supportive 
  4. using one's personal context to define which directions to explore and which possibilities to prioritize
  5. diagnosing what's gone wrong and/or what's missing when learning has stopped occurring or has lost its effectiveness
  6. changing one's pursuits when experiencing a loss of motivation, curiosity or resolve
  7. testing the validity of one's recent findings when they're applied to situations in need of solutions, results or changes
  8. upgrading one's own comprehension with added valuable distinctions, concepts, frameworks and perspectives
  9. experimenting with different approaches to become more proficient at making choices, decisions and diagnoses
  10. inquiring into others' work in these ways to learn from them, help them along and collaborate with their common interests

Like any kind of worthwhile work, these possible approaches to "school work" require deliberate practice. It takes getting good at them in order to get good from doing them. But with proficiency comes many benefits. The seemingly inescapable problems with expertise disappear effortlessly. The familiar problems with losing interest, motivation and focus get preempted by so much satisfying and self-motivated learning. The breakdowns in particular pursuits get addressed without embarrassment, stigmatization or labeling.

None of this will make sense to flat landers who remain convinced that anyone who tries to sail to the horizon will fall off the edge of the world. School work without schooling seems nonsensical to their self-confirming frames of reference. No learning can really happen without school work dictated by classrooms, schedules, authorities and grading. Boy, will they be surprised when the learning is a much higher quality at a much lower cost!

Note: This post addresses issue: 6. Updating the labor model
of the 15 Issues in the reform of higher ed.

No comments:

Post a Comment