SCHOOL, HOME SCHOOL, UNSCHOOL, THE LAST SCHOOL
The Culture of Sharing Knowledge and Skills
- An average school is to transfer knowledge. A national school system is to form a national state citizen. A private school is about selling a story which parents want to buy.
- Homeschooling is to follow the national and/or alternative school curriculum where families and friends cooperate to help kids satisfy given/chosen standards.
- Unschooling - if it's done in a smart way is actually about an individual learning path where a lot of things depend on an exact context.
The shared 'advanced' value of all these options is to gain the skill of (self/group) learning. It's about teaching kids how to learn, even better - to create an environment where they learn it in practice.
But I believe, it's not enough.
I see undervalued two other attitudes and corresponding skills
- curiosity to create/synthesize new knowledge and practices/abilities;
- love to share acquired knowledge/skills with others and the art of doing it in the most convenient way.
And it's not only just out of the agenda. It's kind of forbidden for everyone. Because the mainstream message is that:
- to help others get new knowledge - you have to have a degree in pedagogy
- to create new knowledge you have to be a scientist and belong to various academic institutions.
The Last School
So my point is that schools as institutions are TEMPORARY vehicles of civilization, and if even to start a new school or update an existing one is to co-create an environment where kids and adults preserve an evolutionary natural ability and joy of sharing knowledge and skills, so after their experience in this LAST school they won't need to send their own kids to any other schools or go for another time and cost ineffective formal higher education because they are able to organize processes of self-learning and transferring their knowledge and skills to others.
Inability to Share Knowledge as the Cause of Social Inequality and Separation/Atomization
These borders, this division of professionalized education and new knowledge creation, I suggest, is one of the intrinsic causes of inequality that we have in the present society. Our positions there still highly depend on what education we have. Our abilities for critical thinking and to see things as they are, to resist or believe in the propaganda and to follow simple answers are still too often based on having a privileged status. It's really hard to communicate your knowledge and vision to people who are not in your cultural and professional background/bubble because you lack this practice of giving your knowledge and vision in simple and clear ways.
Professionalized, formalized, and framed in time and institutions education ends us in the situation when it is a default (even amongst well-educated folks) to spend time together by boardgames, going out, and discussing Netflix, but not learn new things from each other or create new and common understandings of unclear things.
Learning Ecosystems are Possible
A decade ago, in St. Peterburg, Russia I co-founded an independent ad-hoc education and research program Game|Changers -- a learning ecosystem where its participants learned to create their own learning ecosystems. It was up and running for four years, while some events and formats inspired by it still work nowadays. Most of the related media highlights and publications were in Russian, but here is one we translated -- Tutors and Colliders: New Ontology for Education.