You’re Only Bored Because You’re Not Learning Anything

People love to learn. It’s a fact that was perfectly encapsulated in this talk by Alice Taylor at this year’s Do Lectures.

Take children for example. The early year’s of their life are one big learning fest where everything is exciting and new and interesting. Everything they do is a an experience of education whether they’re playing a game, doing a job for their parents in the house or making something. For them, everything in life is about wonder and joy and fascination.  In fact, as Alice put so eloquently in her talk, children only get bored when they aren’t learning something.

That’s simple then. We all love to learn and the best way to do it is through play and open investigation of the world around us. So how does this free approach to learning fit into our formal education that is all about curriculum and tests and other rigid structures and systems? They seem to have gone a long way to getting it right in the formal education system in Finland where all children have the right to a comprehensive education systems which sets them up well for adulthood both academically and socially, personally and creatively. Their system proves that it is possible to have an accessible education system where excellence walks hand in hand with individual experience so maybe we need to look more closely at what they are doing and see what we can learn.

Now the only question is how do we get adults to see that learning can and should continue to be part of life for people of all ages. Where do we possibly start with that one? But surely adults who are excited about learning are key to supporting children to be excited about learning? The challenge is to get the grown ups to turn off the television or internet and get out there to play and enjoy the wonder and fascination that surrounds us everyday, everywhere we go.

2 thoughts on “You’re Only Bored Because You’re Not Learning Anything

  1. To turn off the TV is absolutely right. Our culture is so steeped in telly that if you don’t have a set, the incredulity with which you open increasingly surly and threatening letters from the licencing agency is quite staggering. Apparently 40m people *didn’t* watch the XFactor. Hurrah for us!

    ‘Bored’ did used only to be a feature of young teenagehood, didn’t it? I simply cannot imagine being bored, ever.

  2. “School prepares for the alienating institutionalizing of life by teaching the need to be taught.”
    “A good educational system should have three purposes: it should provide all who want to learn with access to available resources at any time in their lives; empower all who want to share what they know to find those who want to learn it from them; and, finally, to furnish all who want to present an issue to the public with the opportunity to make their challenge known.”
    – Ivan Illich. Deschooling Society. (1971)

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