Presentation on theme: "Its your world to shape, not just to take John Abbott President, The 21st Century Learning Initiative The 21st Century Learning Initiative - www.21learn.org."— Presentation transcript:
Its your world to shape, not just to take John Abbott President, The 21st Century Learning Initiative The 21st Century Learning Initiative - A Specimen lecture (first given in February 2011, in England and Canada) that draws together most of the issues contained in the animated documentary series Born to Learn.
The task is not so much to see what no one has yet seen, but to think what nobody yet has thought about that which everybody sees. Schopenhauer, The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
What do you think you see? The 21st Century Learning Initiative - or Candlestick or Faces?
Going from one way of seeing things to another is the starting point for significant, irrevocable change in the way we humans understand how things work. Theory of Paradigm Shift : Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (1962) The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Changing Perceptions
How do you see our world? The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The Troubled World of 2011 There are now two and a half times as many people on the Earths surface as when I was born just before the outbreak of World War Two. At the most recent count, about 7,000 people (One hundred millionth of the worlds population) owns more than over 3 billion people, (just under half the population). 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day. The richest 20% of the worlds population receives 75% of the worlds income while the poorest 40% receive only 5% or the worlds income. Of the worlds largest 150 economic entities, 95 are corporations (63.3%). Wal-Mart, with revenue of $ billion, is the largest corporation on the planet, and ranks number 22 on the list. The United States is the worlds largest economy with a total economic output in 2004 of $11,667,515,000,000. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
If civilisation is to survive it must live on the interest, not the capital, of nature. Ecological markers suggest that in the early 1960s, humans were using 70% of natures yearly output; by the early 1980s wed reached 100%; and in 1999 we were at 125% Ronald Wright A Short History of Progress (2004) The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
We each see the world from our own perspective. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - And did those feet in ancient time. Walk upon Englands mountains green: And was the holy Lamb of God, On Englands pleasant pastures seen! Here is mine : my parents grew up in middle England in the 20s and 30s I was born as Britain went to war with Germany and bombs fell near my home
The 21st Century Learning Initiative - History experienced across the Generations My recent ancestors
My adolescence, and the development of a Broad Mind The essential skill is to develop the ability to learn. However you cant learn how to learn without learning something. It is much easier to measure what you have learnt than it is to measure how you learnt it... Examination results alone dont prove that you can think straight. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Derek Pitt, Teacher in the 1950s of A Level History and English, a keen musician and student of Medieval Art – and cricket coach The roots of civilisation are twelve inches deep; discuss (Oxbridge Scholarship question)
The problem for pupils if teachers cant make their subject live A critical incident: failing Latin O Level three times I came close to jeopardising my chances of going to University, but years before I was taught to wood carve by an old sailor. Being selected to represent England at an International exhibition of Woodcarvers six weeks before sitting the exam for the fourth time gave me so much confidence in myself that I decided not to go to any more Latin lessons and simply taught myself by a massive act of memorisation. In six weeks I gained 89% in the exam having previously never got more than 21%... But a month or so later, I couldnt remember much of the Latin but learnt that I could do more for myself than I could by relying on the system. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
University, and the enthusiasm to create a better world Rhum expedition 1959 Gometra expedition 1962 University Maiden Eight 1961 The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The ideas that talents are lent for the service of others and not given, and that knowledge brings humility and a sense of involvement in mankind, are just as necessary correctives to the arrogance of a meritocrat in a highly technical world as they were in Hugh Oldhams day (1514), and without them the Schools record of academic success would be indeed alarming. P.G Mason High Master The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Manchester Grammar School, 1965 Dare to be wise
From leader of expeditions to being a Headmaster The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
So began my search to understand human learning The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The human race is the planets pre-eminent learning species – it is our brains that give us our superiority, not our muscles. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The 21 st Century Learning Initiative The Initiative will facilitate the emergence of new approaches to learning that draw upon a range of insights into the human brain, the functioning of human societies, and learning as a community-wide activity. Washington DC 1995 onwards The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Over 800 lectures… …In over 40 countries
The Descent of Mankind Studies in genetics suggest that the split with the Great Apes occurred seven million years ago. At twenty years to a generation that is three hundred and fifty thousand generations ago, at a minute a generation, this is equivalent to the minutes we are, on average, awake for in a year. In all that time the genetic structure of us humans differs from the Great apes by less than 2%. Stone Age Man, on this scale, appeared 60 hours (two and a half days), while Modern Man, Homo Sapiens appeared some thirty hours ago, in Africa, or equivalent to one and a half days ago. Each of us is a result of all that evolution. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
From the time at which our species came out of the trees and began to walk on their back legs, this produced a problem for females as the birth canal couldnt expand without her losing the ability to be bipedal. The problem was exasperated as the human brain began to grow, so forcing the skill to grow. Every other mammal gives birth to its young when their brains are at least 95% complete, The 21st Century Learning Initiative - but humans are forced to drop their babies extraordinarily prematurely at the point when their brains are in fact only 40% developed (should the foetus remain in utero until the brain was fully formed, pregnancy would last for 27 months...and the baby would never get out).
Mothers and babies need protection for years – hence the need for long term bonding. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The growth of synapses during the first 6 months The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Not until the child is about three years old does its brain reach 95% of structural completion (that does not mean it has finished its growth - far from it for further development involves removing part of the young brain to enable it to become more complex)
Tell me and I forget; show me and I remember; let me do, and I understand. Confucius, BC The 21st Century Learning Initiative - How do we learn?
The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Probably the earliest representation of intellectual thought was the bone uncovered in France some 15 years ago, covered with a series of images that archaeologists and astrophysicists have identified as the phases of the moon over a number of nights as observed from that latitude 32,000 years ago (c. 1,600 generations back.
Babylonian Mathematicians 5,500 years ago (c. 270 generations ago) The mathematics of space: 60 seconds to a minute, 60 minutes to a degree, 360 degrees to a circle... The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Polynesia...together with their understanding of the different ocean currents containing waters of significantly different temperature and shoals of different kinds of fish. The skill to do this is something modern man can only wonder at... Apparently the islands of Polynesia began to be colonised some 1500 years ago by people who navigated entirely on their ability to use the stars as a chart... The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Evolution in Brain Until the early 19 th Century the very best estimate of the age of the earth had been made in the mid 17 th Century which had calculated from the book of Genesis that the earth had been formed at 4pm on the 22 nd October 4,004 BC. Findings in geology in the late 18 th Century suggested that it really had to be several million years ago. Sixty years later in The Origin of Species, Darwin said, it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent. It is the one most adaptable to change. Biology at the time lacked any technology that enabled it to study the structure of the brain at a scale which could show synaptic development. But Darwin guessed, psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary requirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation (evolution). Light will [then] be thrown on the origins of Man and his history. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Discovering the origins of human thought and behaviour Any serious consideration of evolution in brain did not enter psychologists thinking until the early 1970s (when I studied Education in the mid-sixties there was absolutely no reference to the brain). Not until the invention of PET scans and latterly functional MRI in the late 1970s onwards has the study of cognitive processes been open to visual comprehension. Suddenly scientists saw in our preferred ways of doing things strategies that in all probability have been shaped by the earliest experiences of mankind. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Human beings did not fall ready made from the sky. Many of our abilities and susceptibilities are specific adaptations to ancient environmental problems rather than separate manifestations of a general intelligence for all seasons. (Barrow, 1996) The 21st Century Learning Initiative - The human mind is better equipped to gather information about the world by operating within it than by reading about it, hearing lectures on it, or studying abstract models of it. (Santa Fee Institute, 1995) Now, in 2011, we understand...
Historical evidence is plentiful for the first couple of hundred years, then rapidly diminishes. At the 5,000 year mark visible records disappear altogether. At the 15,000 year stage humans began to settle down. Go back to the 50,000 year mark and it seemed that our slowly evolving ancestors started to show the first signs of modern human behaviour. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Humans have been using language for more than 100,000 years. Children master most of the complexities of grammar with practically no explicit instruction from their parents. It is almost totally dependant upon extensive parent-child verbal interactions which provide an essential environment to unlock the inherited predispositions to structure sound in a meaningful way. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The invention of writing – the conflict between word and image The 21st Century Learning Initiative - This book tracks the correlation between the rise and fall of literacy and the changing status of women in society, mythology and religion throughout history. It contrasts the aural, right-brain teachings of Socrates, Christ, and the Buddha with the hierarchical and sexist forms that evolved when their spoken words were committed to writing, which led to the ferocious religious wars and neurotic witch-hunts (about 5,500 years ago). While the benefits of literacy are obvious; this gripping narrative explores the dark-side, tallying its previously unrecognised costs.
The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Three different traditions 1)The Judaic-Christian tradition of self improvement, the Book of Ecclesiastes says, of the writing of books there is no end, and much study wearies the mind (approximately 800BC) 2)Platonic Thought proposed that philosophers and rulers were born with gold in their blood, warriors were born with silver in their blood and farmers and labourers were born with lead. He believed that nothing in a persons life could change their status. ( BC) 3)The Roman belief in rote learning and the forcible injection of learning through the classroom
This began to change slowly The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Roger Ascham, tutor to Queen Elizabeth I and a renowned classical scholar, sat down in Windsor Castle in the late 1560s to write the first book in English on education, called The Scholemaster aimed at correcting the faults of traditional Roman education. Firstly, he urged cultivation of what he called Hard-Wits rather than superficial Quick-Wits of those whose memories were good, but who couldnt work things out for themselves. Because I know that those which be commonly the wisest, the most learned, the best men also, when they be old, were never commonly the quickest of wits when they were young. Secondly, he urged teachers to be more gentle with their students and warned them against what he called the Butchery of Laten – go easy on the birch he was saying, for children who only learn because they are frightened, gain nothing.
Thirdly, Ascham urged that in the attainment of wisdom, learning from a book or from a teacher is twenty times as effective as learning from experience because it is an unhappy mariner who learnt his craft from many shipwrecks. Why this extraordinary explanation? I was once in Italy myself, but I thanked God that my abode there was but nine days. I saw in that little time, in one city, more liberty to Sin than ever I saw in our noble city of London in nine years. Consequently Ascham piously defined the indisputable role of the school master as a censor of what their students should learn. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - D
Behaviourism and JB Watson The 21st Century Learning Initiative - JB Watson ( ), denied that evolution has any part to play in the understanding of the human brain. It was all to do with the relationship between what a teacher put in, and what a child observed. He believed that learning should become something that schools did to you, and quality instruction as being infinitely more important than encouraging students to think for themselves. He believed that childrens minds were putty to be shaped by well-trained teachers... (the shadow of this thinking has deadened the imagination of millions of children and frustrated a large number of teachers).
Einstein disagreed profoundly It is almost a miracle that modern teaching methods have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of enquiry; for what this delicate little plant needs more than anything, besides stimulation, is freedom. Albert Einstein, The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
In the 1980s cognitive science, began drawing upon neurobiology began to undermine the claims of the behaviourists Learning does not require time out from productive activity; learning is at the heart of productive activity Shoshana Zuboff, 1988 The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
(Professor) Baroness Susan Greenfield The 21st Century Learning Initiative - SUSAN GREENFIELD CBE is an eminent neurobiologist who was appointed Director of The Royal Institution in London in Since 1996 she has been Professor of Pharmacology at the University of Oxford. Her research concentrates on understanding brain functions and disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases, as well as the physical basis of consciousness. She has also spoken out about the impact of social networking sites and the amount of time children and young people spend in front of computer screens: By the middle of this century, our minds might have become infantilised - characterised by short attention spans, an inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity,
Adolescence A Tribe Apart ? The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
We know that the human brain is essentially plastic, but it constantly reshapes itself in response to environmental challenges, but that it does this within the blueprint of the species inherited experience. There are three phases during the normal life cycle when the brain goes through extraordinary periods of internal reorganization - a kind of mental housekeeping. Experience during each of these phases becomes critical to how the individual brain is reconfigured to deal with the next stage of life. Synaptogenesis The 21st Century Learning Initiative
Crazy by Design We have long suspected that there is something going on in the brain of the adolescent, apparently involuntarily, that is forcing apart the child/parent relationship. Adolescence is a period of profound structural change, in fact the changes taking place in the brain during adolescence are so profound, they may rival early childhood as a critical period of development, wrote Barbara Strauch in The teenage brain, far from being readymade, undergoes a period of surprisingly complex and crucial development. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - The adolescent brain is crazy by design.
Becoming Adult From the earliest of times the progression from dependent child to autonomous adult has been an issue of critical importance to all societies. The adolescent brain, being crazy by design, could be a critical evolutionary adaptation that has built up over countless generations, and is essential to our species survival. It is adolescence that drives human development by forcing young people in every generation to think beyond their own self-imposed limitations and exceed their parents aspirations. These neurological changes in the young brain as it transforms itself means that adolescents have evolved to be apprentice-like learners, not pupils sitting at desks awaiting instruction. The 21st Century Learning Initiative
Flow Neuroscientists, together with psychologists and evolutionary scientists are starting to show that youngsters who are empowered as adolescents to take charge of their own futures will make better citizens for the future than did so many of their parents and their grandparents who suffered from being overschooled but undereducated in their own generations. Students who get the most out of school, and have the highest future expectations, are those who find school more play-like than work-like. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Clear vocational goals and good work experiences do not guarantee a smooth transition to adult work. Engaging activities – with intense involvement regardless of content – are essential for building the optimism and resilience crucial to satisfying work lives. 1997
Dont Fence Me In – Cole Porter, 1934 Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above, Don't fence me in. Let me ride through the wide open country that I love, Don't fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze, And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees, Send me off forever but I ask you please, Don't fence me in. Oh, give me land, lots of land under starry skies above, Don't fence me in. Let me ride through the wide open country that I love, Don't fence me in. Let me be by myself in the evenin' breeze, And listen to the murmur of the cottonwood trees, Send me off forever but I ask you please, Don't fence me in. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
There are very many others The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
So What Now? Formal schooling, therefore, has to start a dynamic process through which students are progressively weaned from their dependence on teachers and institutions, and given the confidence to manage their own learning, collaborating with colleagues as appropriate, and using a range of resources and learning situations. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Subsidiarity It is wrong for a superior toIt is wrong for a superior to keep to itself the right of making decisions for which an inferior is perfectly capable of doing for itself keep to itself the right of making decisions for which an inferior is perfectly capable of doing for itself. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The English Confusion The 21st Century Learning Initiative - Perhaps best illustrated when David Blunkett, overturning the earlier English tradition that education was about the development of a childs full personality, said,... the work of the DfEE fits with a new economic imperative of supply side investment for national prosperity. All of which went back to the introduction of the National Curriculum by Kenneth Baker in 1988, subsequently tinkered with by Kenneth Clarke, John Patten, Estell Morris, Charles Clarke, Ruth Kelly, Alan Johnson, Ed Balls and now Michael Gove.
The Political Dilemma Much to my surprise I cant really fault your theory. You are probably educationally right; certainly your argument is ethically correct.Much to my surprise I cant really fault your theory. You are probably educationally right; certainly your argument is ethically correct. But the system youre arguing for would require very good teachers. Were not convinced that there will ever be enough good teachers. So, instead, were going for a teacher-proof system of organising schools for that way we can get a uniform standard But the system youre arguing for would require very good teachers. Were not convinced that there will ever be enough good teachers. So, instead, were going for a teacher-proof system of organising schools for that way we can get a uniform standard. Verbatim report of conclusions of presentation made to the Prime Ministers Policy Unit, Westminster March 1996 The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
It has been the lack of real understanding about education and learning amongst teachers that has allowed successive governments to bully the profession. Teachers undoubtedly need to understand the theory of learning. Deprived of a real understanding of both pedagogy and policy they are simply parroting the latest curriculum directives. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
The problem is one of Synthesis Synthesis is the drawing together of ideas, whereas the essential Western tradition of education is reductionism – reducing complex issues to easily studied separate bits. The problem with that is that it becomes ever more difficult to see the Big Picture. Have you a mind big enough to get around all these issues and tease out the common threads? The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Time is going by "The biggest crisis we are facing is a Crisis of Meaning. The tremendous social changes of the last 100 years have stripped modern society of that which gives us meaning be it in our roots to our ancestors, religions, spirituality, our relationship to nature Within this Crisis of Meaning our young people are facing a MORAL crisis - a crisis of values. Without these anchors young people no longer understand the value of perseverance, learning for learning's sake etc.. Instead our daily lives are filled with a pursuit of money and temporary ecstasy. Both of these goals are unfulfillable and result in a misguided frenzy in the pursuit of the next thrill, or in depression. from Dr Rolando Jubis Psychologist and Counselor Jakarta International School, 11/11/00 The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
...fears that the ever-growing disconnection of the human race from the rest of nature is a link that is not only being diminished, it is being completely eliminated for the first time in the history of our species. This is going to change the world in a horrible way: what kind of parents are these zombies going to grow up to be, if they grow up? Robert Bateman from British Colombia: painter, conservationist, and philanthropist (born 1930)... The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
David Suzuki from British Colombia, internationally renowned geneticist and environmentalist, born believes that human intelligence and foresight got us into our present pickle by enabling us to invent such efficient ways of exploiting Nature that our population growth went into overdrive. Now human intelligence and foresight are all we can rely on to see us through the tight bottleneck we are fast approaching – that narrowing chasm where far too many people are faced with far too little food and, very possibly, far too little air. The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour, Rains from the sky a meteoric shower Of facts....They lie unquestioned, uncombined. Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill Is daily spun, but there exists no loom To weave it into fabric. Edna St. Vincent Millay "Huntsman, What Quarry" The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune... The 21st Century Learning Initiative - William Shakespeare ( ) with photos from Gulf Islands 2011
...But omitted, and the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries... The 21st Century Learning Initiative -
... On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves -- or lose the ventures before us. The 21st Century Learning Initiative - William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act 4, Scene 3
For further information: Webwww.21learn.orgwww.21learn.org Website:www.21learn.orgwww.21learn.org UK Telephone:01225 Fax: The 21st Century Learning Initiative -