Grades and Limits, It Just Ain’t Life-Long Learning

So, it is Week 2 of ‘Rhizomatic Learning’ and the focus is enforcing independence. The questions posed are how do we create a learning environment where people must be responsible? How do we assure ourselves that learners will self-assess and self-remediate?
Whenever we talk about student-centred learning this discussion usually revolves around creating authentic situations through which students can take responsibility of their actions. However, what is not often spoken about is how to enforce this learning. It is usually assumed that if you provide the right situation to grow – fertilized garden bed with plenty of sun and water – then growth is guaranteed. What is significant about words like ‘enforce’, ‘must’ and ‘assure’ is that the choice to not participate, to refuse, is taken out of the equation. The very term ‘enforce independence’ seems antithetical, contradictory.
Now I am not sure how to ‘enforce’ such independence, but I will at least plant the seed as to what I feel that it isn’t. Independent learning is not: structured around word counts, based on grades and dictated by due dates. What it is though is: supported, driven by interests, responding to what needs to be responded to and feed by ideas of the wider learning community.
What is interesting about ideas of self-assessing and self-remediating is that they call for some sort of measuring stick, some prior model of success. Maybe the answer to enforcing independence is that students create and assess their own learning. In this scenario, the learner is facilitator and assessor. Where they create their own narratives, their own successes, their own continual feedback. What might be termed, ‘education without teachers’. 
Not exactly sure what this would exactly look like, but maybe giving it all too much detail misses the point.

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Aaron Davis

I am an Australian educator supporting schools with the integration of technology and pedagogical innovation. I have an interest in how together we can work to make a better world.

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Grades and Limits, It Just Ain’t Life-Long Learning by Aaron Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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