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Schooling vs Learning

"Schooling" and "learning" are generally considered to be the same idea but they are not. In their book On being a teacher: The Human Dimension, Kottler, Zehm, & Kottler (2005) suggest that schooling and learning are very different. 1. They definedstated that, Schooling is strictly structured and requires students to conform to a set list of rules and a set curriculum for each class they attend. (p. 25) 2. They stated that Learning is a natural process that is self-motivated by the learner and includes the search for fresh ideas, new information, new challenges and meanings while gaining experiences. (p. 25)

The ideas taught by schooling:

1. Following directions and being responsible and respectful citizens, are easily measured and assessed by simple observation of the students because schooling is an extrinsic process that is outwardly motivated by teacher praise or tangible rewards. 2. If the students use their good manners or walk in line nicely, then they have successfully been schooled and usually are rewarded for their efforts. If the students choose not to follow the directions or walk nicely in a line, there usually is some sort of consequence. 3. Most students learn quickly that following directions leads to a reward of some sort and they use or manipulate the rules to their advantage. Schooled lessons are turned on and off at will by students to achieve the desired outcomes which can change in an instant. What a student wants from one person (a sticker, a high-five, words of praise) may differ from what a student wants from another person (any attention, even negative).


Oliver DeMille the founder and former president of George Wythe University, a co-creator of TJEd Online and the author of A Thomas Jefferson Education: Teaching a Generation of Leaders for the 21st Century, and The Coming Aristocracy: Education & the Future of Freedom .

Suggest that:
1. If the emphasis is on schooling, then students are forced to participate in school regardless of their learning styles.

2. They are labeled failures when in fact it is the school that has failed them.

3. In contrast, if the focal point is learning, school is used for students who learn best in the schooling environment and other venues are applied where they are more effective. 4. Every child can learn, and it is up to us to help each of them find his ideal learning environment and flourish in it. Different kinds of schools and classrooms are established to meet different needs. 5. The focus of any truly quality educational system and school must be on how each child learns and on finding ways to help each child best flourish in his learning pursuits. This is the ideal. 6. Personalized education is the key to learning, and any truly great education ultimately boils down to learning that is personalized, individualized and founded on a deep love of learning. If you want to immediately boost the quality of education in your family life, put the emphasis on learning. Schooling can be a valuable part of learning for many students, but learning must be the guiding principle.


This entire debateschools versus learningboils down to one question: What is the basic unit of education? Is it the student? Or is it the government, the corporation, or something else? In our time, some see the primary purpose of education as promoting the interests of the government, others as providing the needs of the market and corporations. In many cases, government agendas dominate the structures and administration of public schools and corporate interests rule many private schools. As institutions themselves, governments and corporations operate on the idea that education is best promoted through other institutions called schools. Making students alter themselves to fit the institutional realities of the schools directly trains adults who naturally work for the objectives of government and corporate institutions. Its not a conspiracy, its just business. But learning is more important than business. It creates our future. It determines the future of freedom, of culture, of class-based or non-class society, of freedom or slavery, of economic opportunity or stagnation, of entrepreneurial success or spreading dependency, of prosperity or poverty, of national progress or decline. The quality of our learning, perhaps more than any other factor, will shape the future quality of our families, relationships, communities and moral choices. Learning, or its lack, impacts nearly everything in our society. Unfortunately, and inaccurately, we have come to equate our level of learning in society with the quality of our schools. The two are simply not the same thing. The growth of the false view that schooling equates with learning has coincided with a decline in reading and also of deep discussions between parents and youth on important topics. Allan Bloom wrote in The Closing of the American Mind that families (and even couples) have stopped thinking together in deep and meaningful ways. Along with the move to schools as the center of our educational processes in society, we have stopped seeing parents as the experts in learning. We have placed as our educational experts an entire industry that is expert on schoolingbut not necessarily on learning. We graduate millions with degrees

in various types of education, but few major in Learning. Schools dont even offer it. We have shifted our priorities from learning to schoolingfrom the individual to big institutions. This nuance may seem irrelevant to some people, but it has a major impact on the quality of our education as a society and generation. It is hard to overstate how much this small detail weakens our nation. We are a society widely schooled and widely shallow of learning. Bloom lamented that our modern nation of Ph.D.s and M.D.s has little of the quality learning once enjoyed by the average citizens in America. On a personal level and in our homes we too often follow this modern trend. We frequently make educational choices for our children and youth that are less about the quality of their learning than the marketability of their schooling. In such cases, the focus isnt even the schooling they will receive but rather the way their school will be perceived by othersespecially representatives of big institutions. These cultural norms have become so widespread that we seldom consider how things could be any different. This is just the way things are, we believe. In this environment, not only are schools big business, but the debate about the future of education is big business as well. The modern education problem is imbedded in the debate itself. We will never solve the education debate because it is centered on schools and how they can meet the demands of the government and market. As long as this is the debate, we will never feel fulfilled by any solution. Every new fix will be a fadnothing more. Weve got to get back to the real discussion, the dialogue about learning.