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Lessons in the Absence of Teachers

Sugata Mitra‘s “Hole in the Wall” experiment shows us that children will learn what they want to learn. His work occurs in some of the poorest places on earth. if such “miracles” can occur where there is such a lack of resources and support, imagine if this was paired with teachers who understand and valued this process. Imagine what would be unlocked and catalyzed. Imagine this in the United States, imagine this in Kolkata, Cameroon, New Delhi, and everywhere else on the planet.

This is the thinking behind democratic education, it can be seen in these examples Dr. Mitra offers, and with children here in the United States. In fact this is always happening. A primary issue, is that our education system does not value this type of learning unless it aligns with an outcome measure. Thus, millions of children are denied an essential truth–they are intelligent and able to learn, in fact they are learning all the time.

Now, how do we get behind this reality rather than deny it and get in the way of it? What if teachers adopted the “grandparent method?”


About Adam Burk

Adam aims to serve the greater good; alleviate unnecessary suffering; and create beautiful, sane human communities in concert with the living planet. Recently, he has helped to rebuild local food systems in Maine in large part through school food services, organized the TEDxDirigo conference, and is a digital organizer with the Institute for Democratic Education in America (IDEA).


2 thoughts on “Lessons in the Absence of Teachers

  1. i love Sugata Mitra Adam.. nice post.

    i was just at bif 6 – (which was absolutely absolutely amazing) – and i met up with an amazing man.. Nabil Harfoush @nabilharfoush – and i was lucky enough to get to spend even more time with him today waiting in the airport. our conversation was about this…
    specifically how, in 3rd world countries we provide resources, but then we think we also need to manage the resources. Nabil said, 3rd world countries are starting to aspire at our intoxication.

    i think that’s happening everywhere.. Nabil’s words… if you want to make a movement take off – no one can own it.

    Posted by monika hardy | September 18, 2010, 2:52 am
  2. “If there is interest, then there is education.”

    Isn’t this what Paula’s latest post is about too?

    This is awesome Adam, and everyone seems to be sending this around. (And by the way, Sugata Mitra was the keynote speaker in Melbourne Australia this summer when they rolled out their Ultranet!) Love that.

    Posted by Kirsten Olson | September 20, 2010, 4:25 pm

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