Language plays a huge part in the creation of knowledge. The concept as simple as scientific fact is so embedded in our scientific and society culture and no-one questions it. Facts, however, become facts through society’s acknowledgement through analysis and transfer of that ‘fact’ to a new situation or field of study. Many new ideas or discoveries come when people question what is a fact and how it became one. In education, there are a lot of philosophies and theories of learning that are based on multitudes of research such as constructivism (Vygotsky and Piaget), differentiation and multiple intelligences (Gardner and others). And so we come to the 21st Century learning and how it differs from 20th Century education.
Education is not just what is done to you, it is a level of knowledge and understanding that society deems important enough to place a high price on it. You pay to become educated. Once you are educated, you don’t normally lose that educated status. The process can be passive, but costly. Treasured knowledge is kept in the crypts of the educated and lent out in small doses to those that are shown to be worthy (by getting a high mark in a ranked exam that really has nothing to do the treasured knowledge). The cycles of this go back beyond the 20th Century and so what were facts then, might not necessarily apply today.
Learning, however, is very active. It is on-going, there isn’t a point when you stop and say, “well, that’s it. I am now fully learninged.” (I guess you could say learned, but that seems a bit stuffy). Learning fits well with the concept of Life-Long Learning, 21st Century Learning, Personalisation, new assessments, etc. We use the term to categorically state that this is different than what was done in the past. It is active and positive and inclusive and powerful and democratic and socially aware and…..and….and….
This changing of the language of how we pass on knowledge and understanding to future generations is important because it frames our conversation. We just have to make sure that we don’t change our language around learning so much that we become silos. Twitter is a great democratic system to get ideas out, but we must listen to all the voices and make sure parents, students, government, and the public are all in on that conversation. Otherwise, we will just be talking to our selves as those educated reinforce past practices.
Just my rant for the day. Next, I’ll be more positive and look at school culture for the #blogamonth challenge.