Education and Learning

 

Learning is an evolutionary process of cumulative acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding, through discovery and instruction. Education, literally meaning ‘leading’ or ‘bringing’ out, facilitates learning. Educational practice that neglects either the ‘discovery’ or ‘instruction’ aspect can, however, impede learning. Neglect of instruction deprives learners of the information they need to be able to explore inquisitively. Neglect of discovery deprives learners of the imaginative open-mindedness they need to be receptive to new knowledge and understanding. Both forms of neglect are commonplace and often lead to a political wills instead of recognition of the need for partnership between informative and receptive presence, as in natural flow-form.

Conservative educational praxis and standards are selective and based on the authority of the educator to know and judge what’s best for and amongst learners. Learners are regularly tested for their ability to conform to prescriptive expectations, and those who do not match imposed criteria are excluded, in much the same way that ‘natural selection theory’ competitively tests and discards those ‘unfit’ to fill a pre-existing ‘niche’. The potential for innovation and discovery is thereby suppressed. Radical educational theories that eschew the need to inform of what is already known or thought in favour of ‘anything goes’ experimentation, leave learners ‘all at sea’.