Learning versus “Doing School”

Find out what it means for a school to be learning versus doing. It is important for school districts across the country to have a shared understanding or definition of what learning is. What sometimes passes in schools for learning in public school classrooms may, at times, be a process of conforming or what many also refer to as doing school. For example, schools that reinforce the terms playing school or doing school often place more emphasis on things like homework completion, behavior, classroom participation, behavior, extra credit opportunities, and more. Sadly, for students who are not adept at doing school they may not necessarily be at the top-of-the-class because of their ability to learn, but rather as part of a function of their classroom presence.

In this article about learning Robert Pritchard writes that in the South Orangetown Central School District, they make every effort to create a culture that emphasizes on productive learning over simply doing school. The teachers strive for effectiveness over efficiency and common-sense over mere compliance with the regulatory reform of the past decade. (to include Common Core and other associated, nonresearch-based accountability measures). In order to stress productive learning beyond just doing school, it is important that teachers commit to an instructional process that engages and reinforces students wanting to learn more. And according to Seymour B. Sarason, that without the desire to learn more, the learning context is unproductive. As educators, it is not beyond a teachers capacity to create environments where students "want to learn more. And as a superintendent, it is his duty to create a common operating picture of what productive learning should or shouldn't look like in the classroom. Ideal learning environments versus classrooms where students feel unengaged and uncreative in their education are not what schools should be striving for.

In the article written by Robert Pritchard, Ed.D. he says that teachers should aspire to create learning environments as described in the left column in the articles. Some of the words used in the left column include safe learning environment, personal investment, fun, real-world application, relevance to their lives, social, interesting questions, social, positive learning environment, real audience, passion and more. The column on the right in the articles describes a learning environment that is very common in schools for the sake of efficiency. The words that are found on the right side of the article include sitting in rows, 45/60/88 minute blocks, one subject area focus, age grouped co-learners, no real world application, emphasis on grades, someone else's questions, standardized assessments, carrots and sticks and more.

Learning something new and then practicing something new might seem very similar, but these two methods can have very different results. An example might be that you have a goal to get stronger and more fit. You can research all of the best instructions on bench press techniques, but the only way to build strength in your body is to practice lifting weights. Or you might have a goal to grow your startup. You can learn about all of the best ways to make a sales pitch, but the only way to get customers is to practice making sales calls. Learning versus doing are two very different things. Passive learning creates new knowledge. Active practice creates a skill that you are more likely to remember. Active practice, meanwhile, is one of the greatest forms of learning because the mistakes you make while practicing reveals important insights. This is just one of the new stories you will find on the LinkedIn site. You will also find new ideas, new trends, trending news and so much more on the site. **

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