While the word bramble is taken from bramble fruits, (they grow wild like raspberries, blackberries and some roses,) here I mean you can run with essential ideas and take them in varied directions. My first Bramble is entitled: Organic Lessons.
It is designed to encourage educators and self-motivated students to explore and consider fresh ways to look at learning and inspire learning in others. The field of study and even the age and nature of the intended student population does not matter. These are cornerstone ideas to generate a new language to discuss human growth.
There is no more compelling directive in all of human endeavor than to learn about the world – our science studies it, our math seeks to describe it and the language of our fact and fiction writing explicates and explores it. Yet our schooling systems on most every level are taught inside buildings, with very few “field” trips and real world investigations.
We do speak of fields of study, fields of endeavor, even battlefields. Aristotle created a “peripatetic” school – to walk around Athens while students indicated points of interest. What would happen if we did that today with our own students. If you try a version of this, let me know.
Even our religious works talk of a garden as the primal setting of all human history. Whether literally, metaphorically or analogously, this is where we must begin as we rethink the basics of human understanding and thus how to approach learning. If we put away most everything we thought we knew about schooling, we can (and must) begin again.
Teachers’ Workbook: Watch an infant learn for 20 minutes. Take notes or not. If possible, come back a few weeks later and watch the same child again. Seek to Identify what he now knows that he didn’t before.
If you’re a parent, keep a baby book. It’s old fashioned, but maybe not.
Be a novice again at something. And while you learn this task, this new quest you’ve set yourself, reflect on your approach. What understandings did you come away with? What worked for you? What works for you generally? Is that the same as what works for others? Be more specific than the “black box” presentations common to modern educational theorists. That’s where the teacher puts something into the student box and measures what comes out of them sometime later, with no particular clarity as to what goes on between the input and the outcome. Have you heard the expression, “In one ear and out the other?”
‘Education is like play; if it isn’t fun, we’re doing it wrong.’
k s moss, 1974
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