What Kind of Learning Do We Value?

Human beings are creatures of habit. Habits are comfortable, and it is generally easier to continue doing things the way they have always been done. Change is messy, confusing, and often pretty challenging.

At OakHaven, we believe in the importance of examining our habits periodically. We think it’s critical to ask ourselves: “Why are things done this way?” “What is our motivation for taking this particular path?”

We think it’s vital to stop, recognize our values, and make sure that our actions align with those values.

So, this brings us to today’s question: What kind of learning do we value?

In many ways, our current conventional education system reflects one that was created long ago, and to satisfy the needs of a culture that has changed drastically since then.

Let us pause to consider what learning is, what our goals and values are, and what we might do to align the two.

Defining and categorizing education and learning

Let’s get right to the point:

learning: 1. the act or experience of one that learns 2. knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study 3. modification of a behavioral tendency by experience

education: 1. a. the act or process of educating or being educated b. the knowledge and development resulting from the process of being educated 2. the field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools

Long ago, the original goals of schools were to provide children with the knowledge they would need to successfully enter the workforce. This is still largely the case, although as a society we have begun to recognize the importance of inspiring a love of learning and developing the child as a whole person. There are many schools and educators who have worked hard to develop new methods and adjust old ones to meet the needs of today’s students.

Have we come far enough?

What are our values?

What do we, as a society, consider to be important? As we have all realized in recent years, values can be highly personal and they also have the potential to be incredibly polarizing.

We believe there is a way to blend the desires of various groups and viewpoints. We think it’s not only possible, but critical for us to all consider the importance of both individual liberty as well as empathetic support of those around us. The following are some of our most important values; we encourage you to reflect and consider your own:

  • Equity

  • Justice

  • Freedom

  • Truth

  • Innovation

  • Empathy

  • Individuality

  • Environmental Stewardship

What do we hope our children will gain?

If our children are spending the bulk of their waking hours at school, of course we want that time to be valuable for them. In generations past the goal was to impart knowledge from adult to child. While that idea remains in a sense, the way we access and share knowledge has shifted dramatically. So what should we want from our children’s education?

Instead of memorizing dates and historical figures, could we instead draw lessons from our collective mistakes and triumphs? Could we honor the work of those who have come before us, while also acknowledging what hasn’t gone well?