Illich, Deschooling Society (1971)

This piece by Illich is useful for how it illustrates some of the consequences of institutional bureaucracy in relation to education, the benefits of open access to information, and the problems that accompany de-contextualized learning, wherein objects are removed from every day use, brought into educational settings separated from the contexts in which they tend to be used. And yet, even though I agree with this point, I also want to acknowledge that different teaching and learning contexts–including institutionalized education, depending on what specifically they look like–come with varied affordances that oftentimes benefit some and not others.

Today, I am opting to provide a set of images that represent a deschooled learning situation. In addition to these examples, I think of on-the-job training and learning, as well as internship opportunities as reflective of deschooled learning:

These images look like fairly simple one-on-one, one-plus-object, or two-parents-on-one modes of learning and the motivations and contexts are absent from the image, but I suppose I’d like to encourage that we imagine multiple possibilities for each. For instance, how can we flip who’s doing the learning and who’s doing the teaching? Is there an underlying message about the right and wrong answer or is it more open-ended? I suppose these things can be harder to represent in photos.

So maybe the question now is, what can we learn from these examples of deschooled learning, and how they inform how we approach teaching and learning in our current positions?

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