At the very core of what we do is the basic understanding of why we do it.
And if the end goal is to help students learn (whatever it is they are to learn in our spaces), it is essential we come to some consensus about what it actually means to learn.
Although the question has been pondered often, the components of learning are varied.
Defining a word used so often is harder than it seems, but as educators, we must be able to articulate what it means to us - so we can share that with our students and revise it to suit the needs of our diverse students.
Here's what some educators say about learning:
"Learning is the process of intellectual growth driven by curiosity and interest." - Nathan Sun-Kleinberger, Kent, WA "Learning means taking the time to read, listen, watch, interact, and process. Learning takes time to practice and formulate complex ideas, concepts, or feelings. Learning comes with experience. And with experience, one realizes how much there is still to learn. Learning is an integral part of living!" - Mary Bernhardt, Flushing, NY "Learning is about acquiring the foundation for change, creating options that have the potential to alter one's life in even the smallest manner. Sometimes learning happens by chance as one reacts to life, but it also comes when we stretch our curiosity muscles and reach for answers to questions we've encountered." - Harrison McCoy, Arlington, TX "Learning is acquisition. The ability to acquire, retain, and apply new knowledge as well as connecting it to previous knowledge." - Debby Call, Henrietta, NY
"Learning is a dynamic and collaborative process in which students take an active role in gaining, mastering, and applying new knowledge. True learning occurs when students are able to apply the higher levels of Blooms's Taxonomy to their new knowledge. Learning is facilitated more effectively when teachers ask their students to write about, defend, find solutions to a problem, etc." - Valerie Johnson, Mobile, AL
"Learning begins at birth and never ends. We learn everywhere from the crib to the classroom. Students need to be learning something new every day for a wealth of knowledge brings power and prestige."- Andrew Christopulos, Flushing, NY
Each person brings this understanding and belief to the way they teach and more importantly to the way they learn.
If we all believe that learning has to do with creativity and curiosity, why do we continue to participate in systems that rob students of these essential elements?
How can we all participate in making school and education truly about learning and NOT about compliance? Please share
*This post originally ran on my Education Week Teacher blog in December 2014