Schools are obsolete

Some time ago, I started a website called School of the Open Road, after Walt Whitman’s poem Song of the Open Road, which poem is about learning how a self grows through grasping more and more of the essence of every bit of what life in this particular world offers us. The goal of my website was to present examples of people who had become their own best teachers, one of the primary points of this blog. The website featured a nineteen-year-old man who had taught himself to play concert-level piano in about a year and a half, that time culminating in his public performance of four classic works for piano and a composition of his own. No one ever read the website. Anyway, I’ve recently had a notion that supports all of what I try to say about schools, that notion being that the internet has made schools obsolete. I try to show that true learning takes place when the learner has chosen to do the learning rather than having it pushed onto him or her. I have suggested that schools should be like libraries, where a person who wants to know or learn something can go into a building where there are rooms and equipment and even, perhaps only by arrangement, teachers to make it possible for the person to work towards his or her goal. The internet provides avenues to all of that, without the need to go to a building, or for anyone to have to set up or maintain such a building. All of my points about the efficacy of autonomous learning find their finest tools for demonstration and practice no farther away than the internet. Schools can still work for the youngest people, while they are learning the alphabet and writing and basic arithmetic and such, or that can be done at home if parents are industrious. And schools can serve somewhat in societies that have yet to afford computers in every home. But once the skills and the computer are there, and the internet provider is paid (someday, that won’t be part of the formula), any type of learning and to any degree can begin and can proceed at whatever pace the learner wishes it to go. No school necessary at all.

About wkhardy

A long-time teacher, woodworker and musician who is now writing some ideas that have incubated for forty years -- ideas about WHAT SCHOOLS REALLY SHOULD BE!!!! And now, November of 2015, I'm posting poems and song lyrics from my book -- Once There Came A Thought.
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