But I’ve been thinking about this all day. Information received by students is entirely dependent upon the context in which they receive it: their relationship with the teacher, their unique personalities, their particular hopes and dreams, their prior knowledge, their aptitude for the academic discipline, their previous experience—successes and failures—with this academic discipline, whether or not they ate breakfast or got any sleep the previous night. There are countless environmental factors that impact the learning process.
The theme of this conference was “How People Learn.” Even if I hadn’t listened to a word of what was said, my takeaway from today’s event would have been this: people learn by getting together around shared interests, sharing information about something they’re passionate about, and connecting with others about what they learned. If schools expect to be relevant to kids, they’d better figure this out.