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A New Culture of Learning
I'm really happy to be here, and I have a lot to talk about.
About a year and a half ago, I published a book
with my colleague John Seely Brown
called "A New Culture of Learning."
And it addressed what we saw on some fundamental problems with what was
happening in education today.
And, it hit us very early on that learning is fundamentally an easy thing that we do,
that we do from the day we're born until the day that we die.
And that for most of our lives it is natural
and it's effortless
everywhere but school.
So, it's sort of a hit this, that maybe we need to rethink a little bit about what learning
looks like in our everyday lives,
and, start to think about
how we can recreate our educational systems, our classrooms,
our training seminars
to mirror
what learning really looks like.
And we came with the idea of a new culture of learning
based on really three different areas:
The first was the idea that we need to engage passion
and if you look at a child learning
you see in their eyes
the passion,
the wonder,
the joy.
A few months ago, I was with a colleague of mine with her three-year-old child
walking down the beach
in Santa Monica, where I live.
And he came across a very odd tree that had all kinds of misshapen branches
and a strange bark,
and he just sat there and stared at it and wondered and then like a child would do
when you're three, started taking the bark, you know, smelling it, putting it in his mouth.
He wanted to know everything about that tree.
And it was a moment when I thought:
"I'm really witnessing pure learning happening."
And if somebody has a passion for something,
trying to stop them from learning,
you can't do it.
No matter what obstacles you put in the way,
they will find the way to learn what they need to know.
This is the first thing.
The second thing that we found as an important component of a new culture of learning
is imagination.
And imagination
really begins with two words which I think are the two most powerful words in
English language:
What if.
It's the ability to imagine things differently than they are,
and the incredible power that comes out of those two words
can literally reshape the world.
So, those two things
form one component
of the new culture of learning.
The third component that's equally as important is constraint.
If you want to drive an architect crazy
give them a large smooth flat piece of land,
and then watch them, you know...
spin out of control trying to figure out what to do with it;
but if you really want to make them happy,
give them something that's impossible to build on.
Give them a river, a mountain, a tree,
a big rock in the middle and let them work around it,
and, they will create something brilliant.
I think when Ken Robinson, at the beginning, he was talking about creativity,
that's what he meant.
It's the idea of creating in the face of obstacles.
And putting obstacles in people's way
can harness that passion and imagination,
and the combination of those two things can create something great.
And out of all this, John and I talked a lot about what the fundamental ingredient was
in creating a new culture of learning.
We decided it was PLAY.
And play is a concept
that combines those three things.
And I come up with the definition that I rather like,
which is "the play is an emergent property of the application of rules
to the imagination."
And if you think about something like as basic as a game where you say
"take this ball, put it in that goal
but you can't use your hands."
What would you invent? Football or what we call soccer.
So that idea of just putting those rules in place
fires the imagination, and if you think of all the wonderful things that people
do in that game: the imagination, the creativity, the joy;
it all comes from that simple collision
of imagination and rules.
So, that was the fundamental idea
behind "A New Culture of Learning".
And I realized pretty quickly one of the great things about my job
as I get to go to talk about this book to lots of audiences,
and a lot of them are teachers.
And, instead of telling teachers what they need to be doing,
I spent a lot of time listening to them
tell their stories about how their schools were working.
And I learned four things from the teachers that I talked to.
The first
was that teachers, just as much as students,
have passion.
They care about what's going on the classroom, they care about their students
and they want students to learn;
that the reason they went into that job was to see the light bulb go off
over students head, to see their eyes light up with wonder when they found some... you know,
a new idea.
And going through that,
talking to these teachers, I found time and time again
they have roadblocks put in their way.
I found a ninth grade teacher
who teaches English in California
and on the curriculum,
mandated by the state,
is that he teach the book "Romeo and Juliet" by Shakespeare.
And he tells me
the first two pages of "Romeo and Juliet",
this is his favorite thing to teach, it is his favorite day of the year.
It is the day he looks forward to more than anything else
because the first two pages of "Romeo and Juliet"
are full of dirty jokes.
And he knows that he is going to get every student laughing and giggling and
they'll be the one student who sit in their going
"I don't get it" and somebody will whisper on their ear...
and they will go "Oh oh oh, I get it", right.
It is a joyful experience for him to watch
the language of Shakespeare come alive
and for them to say "Well, I want to read this... it's a dirty book" right?
"I'm very interested in what's gonna happen."
And this language, it has lots of different levels so they spend the rest
of the semester trying to find the double entendres and
all of the magic in Shakespeare's language.
What a wonderful experience! And to see him in one day and two pages
hook kids on Shakespeare,
that for him is why he became a teacher.
Except... this year,
because someone complained because he was telling dirty jokes.
And he was called in
not only to the principal's office
but in front of a tribunal to evaluate his fitness as a teacher.
He was suspended from school for a week.
He was absolutely, you know, found this mind-boggling,
he hadn't assigned the book and he said:
"Your problem isn't with me, it's with Shakespeare;
and if you're gonna tell me I have to teach this play I'm going to teach it properly."
So he was being punished for actually teaching the text he was told to teach
and the kids understanding it.
And at one point he turned this committee and said:
"Have any of you actually read "Romeo and Juliet"?"
And not one of them had.
But one of them
had children who had explained it to her,
and she said to him:
"Why can't you just make it a nice love story?"
And he said: "You do realize they both died at the end right?"
So that's the kind of battle that students are faced or teachers are facing
and, to make matters worse, I was just in New York talking with some teachers as well
and they've done a survey of New York students, and they've asked K-12 students
outside of the classroom what are their major learning resources?
And the things that came up with were their mobile phone or iPhone,
Facebook and Youtube.
So New York City did the only reasonable thing that you could do,
which is they banned all three,
immediately.
Not only for the students but also for the teachers.
So if you're a New York City school teacher,
you cannot access Youtube to show videos,
you cannot do anything with mobile phones,
and you cannot have any contact with students or use Facebook in the classroom.
And there is a big protest now, where I think forty seven or fifty one
of the commissioners of the New York School System
wrote the president chancellor and said:
"This is unacceptable"
"You must allow phones in the schools"
"but we agree they should be kept turned off."
So, that's the solution
I find this fascinating that kids are telling people:
"This is how we learn"
and the schools are responding by saying:
"You can't do that here."
So, when I look at what's happening in the classrooms I think
what we've done
is we've looked at a way to prepare our students for the jobs of the nineteenth century
it's just that we've taken two hundred years to perfect that method
and we've gotten it right;
we are now training people for industrial revolution factory jobs
and we're doing a very good job of it; unfortunately
those jobs no longer exists anymore.
And I thought that was the problem
until I talked to the teachers more
and this let me know my second conclusion:
that the system standardized testing we have,
has almost nothing to do with knowledge
and everything to do with surveillance.
The way in which standardized testing works is not about accountability
it's not about making ensure people learn things
but the goal of any system of surveillance
is about normalization.
It is about treating every student like every other student
and every teacher like every other teacher,
and I've come to believe that that kind of normalization
is incredibly toxic
to the things that we talked about like passion,
and creativity, and innovation.
Because it presumes that everything is equally, any deviation is to be treated
with suspicion and contempt,
and that's what we're seeing takeover in our school systems.
When I talked to these teachers I was feeling all kinds of amazing things
and the one that disturbed me the most
was because of the pressures
of standardized testing
New York City school teachers said to me this line
"We have no time for imagination."
And I thought that cut to the heart of exactly what it is that we're trying to rail against.
So I talked to these New York City school teachers
and I find that only a few of them are happy
and the thing I realized pretty quickly, is the ones that are happy
are teaching kindergarten,
and first grade,
and second grade.
And I assume that's just because they're getting these kids at that age when
they're still joyful;
and someone said "Oh no,
standardized testing starts in third grade."
That's what's making the teachers lives miserable
because they no longer get to
have any kind of learning in their classroom,
all they can do is teach to the test.
I come home from New York to California and hear a news report that California
has adopted something called the California Core Curriculum,
and it will now begin standardized testing
in kindergarten.
I don't know how you devise a standardized test for nap time,
but they're probably going to figure it out.
Now, what's happening is we're sending messages to teachers
that essentially they can't be trusted.
My next-door neighbor teaches third grade in California
and he actually was quote, unquote "called into the principal's office"
that's how he described it,
for sneaking Art
into the curriculum.
It wasn't in standardized test,
there was no place for it,
and the administration believed it was trading off with higher test scores as a
result of putting more information in these kids' heads;
so he was called in, and disciplined as if he was a student,
and for sneaking Art into the curriculum.
So, what we have now is what we think of as a new culture of learning
only happens when you sneak into the curriculum
and it becomes subversive.
So, now teachers are not just battling for student's attention,
not battling to teach them, they're also battling their administration
defying the space to make relearning happen.
The results is that good teachers are forced to become bad teachers
and great teachers are driven out of the profession.
There's no space for the kind of thing that we think of
as that noble art of teaching
and learning.
The third thing I learned
is that our classrooms and our students are changing in a way
that we haven't really been able to keep up with,
and the reason why
is that we have become a culture
and our learning institutions have become cultures
of context
rather than content.
And I learned this from my students as well.
I had an interesting class where
I talked to my students and I asked them
a simple question, I asked them:
"Who do you trust?" 'cause when I grew up
it was very easy, if it was in New York Times,
you probably believed it, that they did fact checking;
if Walter Cronkite said it,
you believed it was true because it was on the news
and, you know he was the voice of objective truth.
Now, maybe that was a little bit naive.
But I asked my students who they trusted
and they said "No one."
And I thought they were being cynical
but it turns out I was wrong, they weren't.
What they meant was
they don't trust anyone in particular.
When a piece of knowledge comes to them
they want to see it from lots of different sources.
They want to have lots of different contexts
to situate what that piece of knowledge means.
So, they're living in a world, where when a piece of news comes in,
they look at four different news stations,
they look at a of couple different newspapers,
they hear what their friends are saying, and their parents are saying,
and out of all of that
they come to a conclusion about what something means.
So they're living in a world of context
and they now have the tools to radically reshape
context in a way we never could.
If I wanted to reshape information I needed to buy
a television station, a magazine, a newspaper or radio station.
All these kids need is a weekend, Adobe Premier,
and some raw footage;
and they can reshape anything they want.
In fact, there's brilliant Youtube video
called "Scary Mary"
which is Mary Poppins, re-cut as a trailer for horror film.
Remarkable.
And it probably took a weekend for a kid
to do it with Adobe Premier. Simple
So, they can reshape context and have this acute awareness
that everybody else can too.
So they're very aware of
what context means
and what content means.
Unfortunately, most teachers
and most professors
are living in a world where they believe they are the content
but in our students minds
we're just another context.
What that means is we need to completely rethink
what our crest classroom look like.
We need to understand
where they are.
And the place that this came up
most interestingly is,
after I asked them these questions
and grow them for a few minutes,
one of my students said to me: "Can I ask you a question?"
I said: "Yes"
He said: "What is that what you guys --meaning
professors-- and Wikipedia?
You all hate it. Why do you hate it so much?"
And it dawned on me that
professors treat Wikipedia as content.
But to our students it's just another context,
so when they use it,
they use it to gloss information
to get a quick understanding of something,
to put it in a perspective that allows them to understand it
in a much bigger picture;
but we're still thinking it's the Encyclopedia Britannica.
So there's that fundamental mismatch.
Now, that brings us to the fourth thing.
And, today when we enter the classroom
our classrooms need to become very different than what they are currently
and what that means is we need to reevaluate what expertise is.
And this is a very hard thing for teachers to let go off
because we're used to be in the people that stand up
in front of the room and tell you the information
you need to memorize to put on the test of students.
And, in fact,
education has become a game and that game has become:
"guess what the professor wants
and then you give it back to him."
And you guys as students have spent twenty years
sitting there
and in the first five minutes of a class
you are seizing the professor up
trying to figure out what it is they want
and you're gonna give it to them.
And lots of professors work that way too.
So, what it means to give up expertise is a very scary thing.
But what we have to realize is, as experts,
if I'm standing here telling you something
and you got your laptop with Google,
in that battle of expertise
I'm going to lose every time.
There's too much information out there.
Now, my role has to change, it has to
change to say:
let's see what Google comes up with
and talk about those eighteen different webpages;
what are the good ones, what are the the bad ones, and why?
How do you reevaluate your context?
How do you make sense of your world?
And what does that mean?
And, in doing so,
the teacher's job becomes creating context.
Our job is to create a context where we can cultivate imagination,
where we can honor passion,
and where we can help people connect their passions to the things
that they need to learn.
And the question that I'd like to leave you with
is: Why aren't we making learning fun and easy?
Why aren't we making it a natural part of the experience of being at school?
Probably the worst thing you can say in reviews
of a teacher's class
is that the class was easy.
Why is that a critique?
Shouldn't we celebrate teachers who make learning easy, make learning fun, make you
deal your passion, cultivate your imagination?
And if we can create
and environment
in which teachers can do that,
imagine what the world will look like.
And then imagine what happens if we don't.
Thank you very much.
[APPLAUSE]
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【TEDx】A New Culture of Learning, Douglas Thomas at TEDxUFM

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Why Why 2013 年 3 月 29 日 に公開
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