On drawing skills, schools, 1866, and learning

  1. Etymology of school: skholḗ (leisure, philosophy, lecture place)
  2. Finnish elementary school act 1866 and drawing skills
  3. AltSchool

What’s this all about?

Let me ask you a question: when you were at elementary school, how much did you enjoy it? Maybe you enjoyed some subjects, occasionally even the food, or hanging out with your friends (and making new friends!), but holistically speaking, was it truly an enjoyable experience? Did you learn to think independently and to take initiative, or were you taught that a nail that sticks out will be hammered?

The etymology of the word school – skholḗ (Greek) – refers to leisure, philosophy, and lecture place. Wait, what? Leisure? Since when was education supposed to be fun and a leisurely activity?

Anyhow, fast forward to 1866 when Finland introduced its elementary school act that, among other things, emphasized the importance of drawing education to provide the students with a skill required in the industry.

Moving on to 2016, when New Yorker wrote about AltSchool (check out the link above) – an alternative private school that focuses on blended learning and bringing technology to education.

Now where along the way did formal education go wrong? I’m cutting corners here a bit, and definitely don’t want to underscore all the good things that have been taking place within the education sector, but it does feel a bit like we could have more fun while learning. And this is exactly my point! Namely, how do we bring fun back to education?

Don’t get me wrong, learning and teaching isn’t always – and shouldn’t be – rainbows and unicorns, but I see fun as partially intertwined with passion. Or maybe ‘fun’ is a bit bad word here – maybe it’s more about how do we make education enjoyable? How do we make education enjoyable for both educators and students?

This is actually quite tricky, as one way to go forward would be to group like-minded people together, but such experiments would end up badly…I mean, really badly. So what else could we do? Multidisciplinary student teams where the students come not only from different disciplines but also from different backgrounds?

What do you think? Looking back at your learning experiences, what kind of good memories do you have?


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