1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

A new approach in self-teaching – the future of schools? December 16, 2010

Some of you may know that pedagogics is one of my favorite spheres of interest, although I don’t blog about it much. I have a dream of opening a private school that would be based on the principles, more relevant to the evolutionary level of the upcoming generations than whatever we have now.

Today I would like to share with you an interesting TED video about a new experimental approach in teaching – helping school children in self-teaching.

I find it very insightful, especially the point of collective learning – something which is missing quite a lot in the modern concepts of education.

LOVE; axinia


21 Responses to “A new approach in self-teaching – the future of schools?”

  1. Erwin Says:

    Fascinating, truely fascinating. I like the idea too of the group learning. I suspect that the new generations have some sort of innate ability to learn through computers that our generation didn’t have (or simply , we didn’t have that opportunity ) Perhaps we were simply conditioned to learn from a teacher and couldn’t imagine a different way of learning? This is a hard one for me: I am a teacher! I can’t help being a little seflfish and wondering: Will teachers no longer be needed in the future? Is this the way things are going? Will teachers be replaced by computers in the end? What about other things apart from knowledge that you can’t learn from a computer? Human values perhaps, spiritual values? Love?

    • axinia Says:

      Erwin, i think there is no need to worry – of cause in the end of the day everyone has to become his/her own Guru/teacher/master. But before that there is a need in a teacher, a kind of a guide, may be like an elderly friend who is just more experienced and knowledgable. But probably this teacher of future shoudl be a real Master, someone these brilliant kids will able to respect and listen to.

      • Erwin Says:

        Thanks for your kind words Axinia. I always find compassion and understanding in your words. And yes, I agree with you, I think everything is beckoning us to grow into that much deeper teacher, wise master these new generations need. I see this in my daughter, who is already so alert about so many things and has so many answers figured out that I did not have at her age. I definitely get the feeling that if I want her respect, I need to grow a lot : )

    • marian pirvu Says:

      The ideea of P.C. learning is nice and interesting, but it’s another UTOPIA, like manny others. From ancient time it was needed a teacher, a spiritual one. Beside anything,
      how can a P.C. to replaced such a Realised Soul?
      This indian man want just to impressed us … Reality is different and the dream to escape from school is also old, but utopical !

      • axinia Says:

        why? this is one of possibilities. People are chaning now. The modern kinds are really differernt, they are much more able to learn on their own. At least the born realised children.

  2. Erwin Says:

    To corroborate this, a little anecdote that happened in a class the other day on my teacher training course: I set the trainee teachers a little discovery activity that consisted in researching some grammar points for themselves ( without the input from a trainer first ) to prepare a 10 min presentation on the whiteboard.Each group had a specific grammar point to research. As usual I suggested they use any of the grammar books or EFL course books on our shelves in the classroom. However, to my astonishment, all the trainees without exception, as if on some common accord, left the room instantly and made a dive for the PCs in the study area of the school. Before I knew what was happening they were all installed at the PCs and had googled the grammar point , had found some nice simple explanations and examples,and in 15 mins had learned the new grammar and had prepared their presentations! ( This is the point in the course when I smile and tell them they don’t need me anymore : )

    • axinia Says:

      a good story, Erwin, just to the point!🙂
      But at least int his case they needed you to give a task, and that’s quite important – before learning there must be a system of HOW to learn, How to approach the subject. I don’t think I total spontaneous learning without any methodology and guidance will work.

      I have a good example with the traditional system of Soviet education where everything has been very more theoretical (they say), but puples and later University students got a very solid understanding of a SYSTEM, of how any system of knowledge operates.
      Now, having this kind of education as a backgroud one can easily learn literary anything because the knowledge of the whole world is based on the same priciples. This is what I find is missing in the Western type of education where people are very practice oriented but in a way narrow-minded: Ít’s difficult for many to see a bigger picture and to apply the knowledge from one subject to another. That’s a huge generalisation, of cause, but coming from the different education background it srockes one emmensly (this ovservatoin i heard from every Russian I met abroad!).

      • Erwin Says:

        I agree with you on this too, Axinia. I am only able to give them these discovery tasks encouraging their autonomy toward the end of the course,once they have developed a systematic approach toward grammar and have the necessary tools to decipher it easily.
        Unfortunately, I don’t really know the Russian system of education, except for a vague notion that it gives people a discipline that seems to be somewhat lacking in our messy western lifestyle. Apart from that, just to add that I grew up in Spain where initially,in my first years of schooling,during the Franco dictatorship, we were just invited to memorise data. But later, once the Franco era was over and we became a democracy, there was a noticeable change: At high school we were invited to question things, analyse the reasons behind historical developments ,and read literature books like Under the Wheels by Hermann Hess,etc . I think perhaps we were lucky to have very good literature and history teachers…But I don’t know if that really answers your question

  3. mahesh chendake Says:

    How education takes place it’s really a big question. being student of educational technology,psychology,sociology…. i find it very difficult to answer.
    collective learning with one and same objective has tremendous good output i know .. .. i believe….i practiced. not necessarily everybody will reach at same destination but at least they will be on paths… peer group learning has lots of importance but any how due to cut throat competition we have lost that .. I have seen student doesn’t share their knowledge, don’t want to expose themselves … having fear that another child will go ahed but i know … the person who teaches by heart … he is 100% on the topic ,who listen’s may be 60 …70% . with this understanding. in my personal life i never find competition except myself. I believe in self learning … yes, teacher can helps up to certain extent for better understanding the topic. i learn many topics … even out side of my syllabus and stream only because out of interest like computer science and other without teacher with self learning even before introduction of computer and now computer and net is my whole world only. … but i have seen my daughters and wife don’t learn much. the reason may be they are not in collective. any how i can manage alone and collective both the things better way, they may not ….. I am sure whatever classes ,lectures by experts you give it doesn’t help unless until you start self learning and explore world with your own way may be trial and error … but it works nicely .even my daughter doesn’t agree for it and since morning 7am to eve 7pm she rushes classes to classes and doesn’t give enough space for self learning ..gets tired… output i don’t know… still % are same just increase 5-10 % ?
    pedagogue helps up to certain extent may be up to 7th ..8th std .i like adult learning …self learning …problem solving approach. by observation, reading ….rereading … trial error …practice.
    now new approach …. through mental silence ????
    really I wonder how education takes place….
    computers ,net will doesn’t replace the teacher. they will aids the teacher for effective teaching provided teacher should be well equipped with technology and experience. because they provides mear information not education or real understanding or not contribute in developing proper attitude.( but current patterns also fails to develop proper attitude because teachers are confused and not well prepared.. It is million dollar question that how many of them are really a teacher ?… they are more businessmen.. character is a another big issue. so this debate is endless. to see real picture one should study Indian system of current education. I know axinia you will change your decision of starting a new school.

    • Dear Maheshsaheb,

      The current system of education is NOT actually Indian. It is more of the kind of mass public school education that took place in European societies of the previous centuries as they transformed from feudal backwaters where only children belonging to aristocratic or other well-off families could afford to get an education/private tutors to societies where everyone learned at least the basic skills in the 4Rs. It may be a bit behind cutting-edge educational methodologies, but it is at least a GAZILLION TIMES BETTER than the true Indian system of education!

      There is nothing better to describe the true Indian system of education than what was practised by that supposedly famous “guru” – that notorious, stinking sewer rat Dronacharya:

      The Supreme Court described the action of “Guru” Dronacharya as shameful in which he asked Eklavya, a tribal, who approached him to learn archery, to build a statue of Dronacharya after the “Guru” refused to teach him as he was a low-born (read as an “untouchable” as opposed to the low-IQed, pea-brained, turd-headed “upper caste” hordes) and practiced archery before the statue. The apex court noted that he would have become perhaps a better archer than Arjuna, but since Arjuna was Dronacharya’s favourite pupil, the “Guru” told Eklavya to CUT OFF HIS RIGHT THUMB (remember that Eklavya was a right-hander who wanted to learn archery) and give it to him as ‘Guru Dakshina’ (the tradition of repaying one’s teacher or guru after a period of study or the completion of formal education) and in his simplicity, Eklavya did what he was told 😯

      The Judges further said, ‘This was a shameful act on the part of Dronacharya. He had NOT EVEN TAUGHT Eklavya, so what right had he to demand ‘gura dakshina’ and that too of the RIGHT THUMB of Eklavya so that the latter may not become a better archer than his favourite pupil Arjuna?’

      All this is not the imagination of those judges. They are exactly what that lowlife creature Dronacharya was described to have done in the Mahabharata. The pea-brained, extremely low-IQed hindoid hordes regard Dronacharya as a supposedly “great guru” 🙄 even after knowing exactly what he did to Eklavya. Why, the sub-satanically evil shit pit called the filthy Indian empire even dishes out “awards” to the supposedly best sports coaches which are named after that sewer rat Dronacharya. Which decent, humane sports coach in his/her right mind would ever accept an award named after such a creature is beyond me. But then, when it comes to the filthy, lowlife hindoid hordes, decency and humanism is not something that can found inside the tiny, extremely low IQed, sadistic pea-brains wallowing inside their turdy heads.

      The court was hearing the horrible incident in which a tribal woman was paraded naked and tortured and thrashed with fists and kicks (things like this and much worse 😯 happen very, very frequently to countless “untouchables” and “tribals” in the “great spiritual land” 🙄 called the sewery Indian empire) by the four appellants for having relations with an upper caste man Vikram, from whom she had a daughter and was pregnant at the time of incident on May 13, 1994.

      I actually got a shock when I saw this in the papers today. Not so much by the facts about “guru” Dronacharya (I already knew about the slimy rat) but by the observation coming from the Supreme Court of India. The SC is one institution that voraciously licks the filthy arses of the criminals running the satanic Indian empire (central gubmint scum) and almost never does its duty of protecting the rights and freedoms of all citizens. It’s observation on this issue did come as a huge surprise:


      Whatever its drawbacks of using behind-the-times methodologies may be, Maheshsaheb, I firmly believe the current Indian system of education (introduced by the Brits and modeled on the modern, Westernised, secular European education system of that time) is a zillion times better than the true Indian system of “education”.

      Despite all the blatant lies taught to us about those “evil British colonisers” who supposedly “looted” the stinking sub-continent, I do feel the Brits did much more good than they did harm. The fact that they even took pains in attempting to civilise sub-human hordes of uncouth barbarians by introducing a modern system of actual education is highly praiseworthy. It’s another matter that they completely failed in their mission of inculcating a decent, humane mindset into the hordes and hordes of uncouth, pea-brained, sadistic savages.

      • mahesh chendake Says:

        I totally agree with you. I have not denied fact and and same thing I have written in new blog of today related to it. in continuation of that writing…
        Raj whatever British did for education .ie bringing uniformity and other like even right to education… I do not Deny but it was there need of that period now things are changed lot.
        Here I am not saying minorities are improved and now they dont need support. I know they need it but see politics, how it is working related to reservation and right to education. Not single politician taking right steps towards betterment of condition day by day they are worsening it.
        For them it is new field for business (there your reservation system doesn’t work … only money is the admission criteria) as they have become educationalist of today’s millennium and opening and running educational institute like mushroom.No vision… No objectives only money marketing… Things are more worst in govt. run institutions ( no teachers, no buildings , no laboratories, no education, no students… but where poor people will go?) even Dr. Babasaheb told to revise the things every 10 years…. why it is not become everybody’s right apart from caste,class and money holding and giving capacity including higher education. Even though doing all those things which are available in present system how many students come in first standard ? how many remain up to 10th? even though not having exams till that ( forget about quality of student those who are present in class!!!!) and what about after 10th.? Even we have not decided in what language education should be given and what is our national language.?
        Due to this privatization how many are able to continue to higher education even though having better marks apart from reservation ( for Your information Even though possible my daughter are learning as open catagary I have not taken that previllage. What will be their future? If they will deny for admission for higher studies who will responsible? and to whom they will curse?) Any way coming to point when i was in first we were 100 till 10th we remain only 16 and graduation only 4 and p.G. only 1 and now I am doing no PHD student in our batch. condition are more worst in other states I know.
        coming to your point
        Why you dont go even before mahabharata.
        You know before dronachayara education was free and compulsory for everybody and based on quality and capacity of student even caste was not decided by birth even for woman’s. Maitrayi, Gargi are the best example. Dronacharya first time implemented that system for king’s children which was strongly opposed by present other Guru’s. It is My strong opinion that from that moment dark period of Hinduism( India) started.which still worsening till today day by day.
        Not vedas but If you go through upnishada’s you will find those writer were real guru’s, their houses were real schools and laboratories .there were true education apart from caste and class. That period was golden period of education in India. Even Charak,Shushruta, Aryabhatta many more example can be given who have contributed a lot for the world. I am dam sure about Patanjali was knowing human anatomy very well and he had linked it brilliantly with religion very well so to carry knowledge to next generations… even during king Asoka we had better conditions afterwords …Arya Chanayaka is another different example from history
        So ….again I am coming to point
        muscle & money, with the help of women and wine … If world is managed better why to educate the people?

  4. mahesh chendake Says:

    anyway, nice vdo… .nice topic…. and very good presentation.
    with Audio visual aid and full freedom without fear of examination and failure they learn more better way in peers i agree. photogenic memory is good and long lasting memory. one should practice it.

  5. mahesh chendake Says:

    Technology ,Entertainment, Design…. the words only suggest that ,how much the teacher should be well equipped,non biased , non judgmental, experienced, understands learner needs, ready to help on need base without any gain,egoless and students friendly to create interest among student when they are going away from real education and learning objectives…. really there is need of good teacher and policy maker who understands them better and contribute aimlessly with love and passion…. I know it will boost self learning attitude in fearless environment with optimism.

  6. I had a very interesting experience in self learning, when I was around 8th grade. Our English syllabus was suddenly changed and the examiners were no longer asking questions from the text book! (Till then, we had ready made questions and answers which most of us memorized). So, these were essentially extrapolative questions, and I went and asked my English teacher how one can score or even learn this way! She said one interesting thing – If you want to get good marks in English, quit reading the text book! Read a lot of story books!! That’s what I did, and I got a merit certificate later in the board examinations of the tenth grade for English!

    It was essentially self learning, and indirect learning at that! When you read a few books, you start to understand how a sentence is structured and how the words are used (in context) and understand new words and phrases all without a rigid curriculum or any teachers! And the examination system should test the proficiency of a child without actually making them memorize the syllabus…

    But collective learning in groups was something that we were never exposed to, and hence can’t say much about that. But any system that doesn’t encourage the students to memorize ought to be good, I guess!! Excellent video and thanks for putting that up here, Axinia.

    Destination Infinity

  7. […] two brilliant videos – One, on the problems with the educational system and the second on self learning. This entry was posted in Concepts and Ideas and tagged cramming, education system, memorizing […]

  8. Olga SE Says:

    A very interesting theme you’ve raised, Axinia! I would like to know your opinion on the following: http://olgaselfexpression.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/foreign-languages-without-a-teacher/

  9. In terms of collective learning, I routinely tell my students that they learn more from each other, than from me. The theory of democratic education is based on the idea that understanding and personal fulfillment are best achieved when children (and adults) take responsibility for their own learning, as opposed to what Paulo Freire termed, the “banking” concept of education, where a child’s mind is but a vessel to be filled with predetermined information.

    In an attempt to compete globally, The United States is currently taking the banking concept to the next level. A set of national standards will soon replace state standards in a terrifying exercise in homogenization.

    Thank you for sharing this. I thoroughly enjoy the international discourse on the state of education. Arthur C. Clarke couldn’t have been more correct when he said, “If children have interest, then education happens.”

  10. kush Says:

    The best way to education is by reading the following Book-
    We begin to learn when we start reading our own selves.
    All so called books are of no avail thereafter.

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