I am currently visiting the International School Brussels (ISB). Here, they have done something that almost no other schools have thought about doing, something very simple. They have defined learning. See my previous post – https://timespaceeducation.wordpress.com/2012/08/23/722/ – to read about why that could be a significant, and yet rather obvious, thing to do.
ISB are able to provide the following definition of learning to all stakeholders in the school. They are able to use it as a filter for decision-making in almost every context. They are able to use it as a philosophical stance in explaining pedagogy to parents. They are able to use it as a way of making sure they recruit the right kind of teachers. They are able to use use it to make sure learning is rich and holistic.
At ISB, learning is defined as:
Competency learning is happening when learners are:
- Comparing their performance to expert performance
- Identifying the adjustments they need to make
- Practicing their skill in order for it to become more automatic
Conceptual learning is happening when learners are:
- Connecting new knowledge to prior understanding and to important concepts
- Constructing theories of how things work and why things are the way they are
- Testing their theories in different contexts in order to: refine them so they have more and more explanatory power; see when, where and how they apply
Learners are more inclined to develop positive dispositions in contexts which provide them:
- Information: the necessary knowledge to be able to understand a particular context
- Situation: in which learners can select the appropriate response
- Motivation: so that learners are intrinsically inclined to act in the most constructive ways
What is your definition of learning? What is your school’s definition of learning?