This image was taken at the WildEarth program offered through SelfDesign High.
This image was taken at the WildEarth program which offers experiential learning through SelfDesign High.

All Learning Is Valid

Children are learning all of the time; humans are born to learn. Lots of learning happens outside of the classroom, yet most of this is ignored by a school system that has rigid goals and objectives for education, divided into grades.

Author David Cofer writes about informal learning in the workplace. As he describes it, “The terms formal and informal learning have nothing to do with the formality of the learning, but rather with the direction of who controls the learning objectives and goals.” A school is a formal learning environment where the administrators and teachers set the goals and objectives. Informal learning involves the learner setting the goals and objectives or perhaps not even having any clearly defined goals.

SelfDesign moves beyond both formal and informal learning and offers a collaborative, consensual approach to learning. Learners are at the center of their Learning Plans. The process involves each learner sharing his or her learning goals with a SelfDesign Learning Consultant and the learner’s parents, who guide the process of creating goals for learning. All learning is valid, including activities not identified in the Learning Plan.

Would creating these for the learners in your family be a fun and valuable process? 

Showing Learning

 Gone are the days of essays and quizzes. Now we have new ways to “show” what is being learned. There has been an explosion of new technology in the past few years that support new ways of demonstrating learning. We no longer have to “tell” someone what we learned; now we can “show” the learning.

Dr. Lane Clarke of the University of New England is encouraging teachers to help their students to “show, don’t tell” what they have learned. She believes that more effective learning experiences will not only help students demonstrate knowledge, but also help them develop 21st century literacy skills.

For younger children who aren’t yet plugged into the digital world, they can draw a comic, sing a song, build something, tell a story. Since right-brain functioning is dominant in most young children, allowing them to express themselves in natural and creative ways will keep the learning fresh and exciting.

What ways do your children enjoy expressing themselves? Drawing? Singing? Dancing? Telling stories?