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In Defense of Learning (part three)

In Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, he gives several “rules” to follow for eating in a manner that is most healthy. One of them struck me as odd. He said “Eat Food.” Pollan even admits that this rule has a strange ring to it, but he goes on to explain that he means that we should eat foods that others from ages past would still recognize as food. He champions the benefits of eating foods that are natural, organic, not chemically enhanced or artificially colored. I immediately made this connection to learning.

When providing education for our children, should we “Just Teach” or “Just Learn”? These are two very different concepts in my mind. To “Just Teach”, the adults seem to be in charge. It’s hard to imagine that I would want others from generations from past would to recognize what is going on in my classroom as “teaching.” Yet, if I focus on the rule of “Just Learn” it creates an entirely different idea for me. If we encourage our children to learn, they have ownership over their process. They are seeing, hearing, acting, doing and feeling. It reminds me less of traditional classroom learning and is more like an apprentice-like approach to skill develop. Blacksmiths would never have had their apprentices sit at a desk and read about melting and molding iron. They would have scoffed at the idea of trying to train anyone this way. I would want this blacksmith to recognize what my students are doing as learning, moving concepts beyond theory into practice. I would hope that my students are building their foundational knowledge based on understanding, experiencing, and absorbing information that is concrete and real.

So, my rule, a la Pollan, would be “Just Learn.” What would your rule of education be?

4 Responses

  1. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by kellyhines: At Keeping Kids First, In Defense of Learning : Part 3 http://ow.ly/1EjFp

  2. This has nothing to do with learning but knowing that you guys are on the healthier eating journey rings a bell with me. We too have begun the life of reducing bad fats, less processing, etc. We even bought our own grain mill so we could make our flour from organically wheat. As we have done so, we have come to believe that our children have a gluten sensitivity that intensifies their problems with focusing as well as a few other health problems. What’s a parent to do? We have jokingly said that we were better off eating all the crap that isn’t really food😦 So the journey continues.

  3. As educators, I agree we should not “just teach”. But I also feel the category of “just learn” might as well be too limited. To me, teaching and learning prove to be successful as a pair. I agree that students should receive the bulk of their knowledge from first hand experience. I would like my students to gain the know-how to be able continue to learn on their own after they have left my classroom.

    Jillian LeRouge
    Elementary Education Major
    The University of South Alabama
    Dr. Strange’s EDM 310 Class

  4. Adding to my bookmarks cheers, sending this to my mates now.

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