The Economic Downturn an Upturn for Learning?
It is unfavorable within educational and teaching circles to say that public education receives too much money…or “wasteful spending” happens in the educational system, but could it be true? My initial reaction is to say that education should be the number 1 spending program (above military and even health) of our government, but what if less money, equaled more learning?
Those unfamiliar with my current graduate school, Goddard College, should be informed of what it is and what it is not. It is a place where minds come together to create, innovate and critically think of new, courageous and different solutions to problems and application to theory, it is NOT a prestigious university with deep donor pockets or even upgraded, properly ventilated rooms or independent professor offices…my point? These economic disadvantages do not stop the learning from happening, they do not stop innovation from thriving…in fact, the simplicity seems to enhance the thinking and limit the distractions.
One of the original quotes from the first president of Goddard College Tim Pitkin was, “Goddard is a place for simple living, hard learning.” I take this to be true and to the heart and wonder if an economic downturn helps individuals free their minds to where and how authentic experience and gained learning happens.
This notion, of course goes against every fiber in my bean, and I know the reality is that schooling does not exist within a progressive, rural college bubble, but rather as large infrastructures that face thousands of students each year and millions countrywide, who are all in need for at least the basic elements to thrive in learning, but, let us think for a moment? Is it possible that even though education is in a crisis with economic downturns, we as teachers, administrators and students are still distracted by the richness, which is afforded to us in this, the richest nation on the planet?
Individually, I search for environments of peace, safety and vitality, in order to further my exploration on subject matter, knowledge, and experiential learning. I have found that schools, without this space and environmental characteristics, are usually filled, instead, with plenty of distractions and compartmentalizing of where learning happens. I hope to never lose the enthusiasm and passion for the gaining of knowledge and learning from experience regardless of surrounding economic conditions.
I would suggest, that our ‘learn thinking’ inside the classroom or without, the simplifying of using what resources we currently have and the disregarding ones that are not edifying, of even distracting, will lead to innovation and creation of new ideas, new solutions and an imagination which, for many of us, has been lacking since our childhood.
Trying some “simple living, hard learning” may lead to some interesting, new results that previously were forgotten due to the cluttering by the advancements, distractions and richness we had before.
In educational solidarity,
Casey K. Caronna