Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track

Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0132346494

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In the age of the Internet, we educate people much as we did during the Industrial Revolution. We educate them for a world that no longer exists, instilling values antithetical to those of a free, 21st century democracy. Worst of all, too many schools extinguish the very creativity and joy they ought to nourish.


In Turning Learning Right Side Up, legendary systems scientist Dr. Russell Ackoff and “in-the-trenches” education innovator Daniel Greenberg offer a radically new path forward. In the year’s most provocative conversation, they take on the very deepest questions about education: What should be its true purpose? Do classrooms make sense anymore? What should individuals contribute to their own education? Are yesterday’s distinctions between subjects--and between the arts and sciences--still meaningful? What would the ideal lifelong education look like--at K-12, in universities, in the workplace, and beyond?


Ackoff and Greenberg each have experience making radical change work--successfully. Here, they combine deep idealism with a relentless focus on the real world--and arrive at solutions that are profoundly sensible and powerfully compelling.


Why today’s educational system fails--and why superficial reforms won’t help
The questions politicians won’t ask--and the answers they don’t want to hear


How do people learn--and why do they choose to learn?
Creating schools that reflect what we know about learning


In a 21st century democracy, what values must we nurture?
...and why aren’t we nurturing them?


How can tomorrow’s “ideal schools” be operated and funded?
A plan that cuts through political gridlock and can actually work


Beyond schools: building a society of passionate lifelong learners
Learning from childhood to college to workplace through retirement


Reinventing Learning for the Next Century: How We Can, and Why We Must


An extraordinary conversation about the very deepest questions...


Today, what is education for?

Where should it take place? How? When?

What is the ideal school?

The ideal lifelong learning experience?

Who should be in charge of education?

And who pays for it all?


Over the past 150 years, virtually everything has changed...except education. Schools were designed as factories, to train factory workers. The factories are gone, but the schools haven’t changed. It’s time for us to return to first principles...or formulate new first principles...and reimagine education from the ground up.


In Turning Learning Right Side Up, two of this generation’s most provocative thinkers--and practical doers--have done just that. They draw on the latest scientific research, the most enduring human wisdom, and their unique lifelong personal experiences transforming institutions that resist change. And, along the way, they offer a powerful blueprint for a thriving society of passionate lifelong learners.

















so hard for the pupils? There are many reasons; but one certainty is that, as most schools are set up today in the Western world, learning is something compulsory. It is an Ought: even worse, a Must. And in the lands of freedom the young now sneer at the Oughts and evade or resist the Musts with all their energy.”25 The New World We have all grown so jaded by the constant proclamations of new eras and new beginnings that we seem to have trouble recognizing the real thing when it finally

the result. In the case of schools, one can only wonder at the “logic” that has led to this situation. Does anyone really think that the way to prepare people for the responsible exercise and jealous guardianship of their rights is to raise them in an environment devoid of these rights? Would we for a moment do this in any other area? Would we expect a person to become literate in an environment devoid of the printed word? Would we expect someone to learn moral conduct among a gang of

would be. They then said these faculty members already knew a great deal about the subject. Good, I said, then they will have to find out what they knew before they could arrange a course for them. The students then asked whether they could expect the faculty members to do assignments, attend regularly, and behave as students are normally expected to behave. I assured them the faculty members would be good students as long as the course made their expenditure of time in it worthwhile. The

accessibility of information exchange and retrieval. This has made it feasible in principle for people everywhere to tie into limitless opportunities for learning, human interaction, and personal growth. All the educational modes we discussed in Chapter 15, “Education and the Working Life,” apply not only to people in the workplace, but also to people of any age after they have completed their formal schooling. In fact, nothing we said there is characterized by any upper age limit. The second

way before I learned how to read, by tracing letters. I’d copy her handwriting. Maybe the game would last an hour, and then we’d get back to our activities, to our frenetically busy days.” Indeed, the founders themselves changed their view of the meaning of the word play as they observed the children in the school over the past decades. 70 “A School For Today,” in The Sudbury Valley School Experience, 3rd ed. (Framingham, MA: Sudbury Valley School Press, 1992) p. 209. 71 Sudbury Valley

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