Learning to Grow – A Thousand Rivers


Right now, it’s about a year since ECMC 2015 which had the theme “Learning to Grow”. I’m going to use this moment to point out that we are half way to next ECMC and that the planning for the next conference has begun.Hope to see you there.

Whatever the theme will be, this is a moment to reflect on what the last conference was about and what we have done since the conference.

I think the whole theme about learning – not program or activity – but at the heart learning was very important and it has made me reflect upon how we evaluate our program and ways of working.

I have spent time reading a few books and essays on the subject and I’m still trying to learn more about it. Inspiration can be taken from the US self schooling moment, but be careful to understand that US public schools are not like ours. That being said, I can recommend John Taylor Gatto’s “Dumbing s Down – the hidden curriculum of compulsory schooling”. Choosing one of the countless of quotes that can be taken from that classic book, I choose a Sokrates one because BP also quoted Sokrates.

“Is it any wonder that Socrates was outraged at the accusation he took money to teach? Even then, philosophers saw clearly the inevitable direction the professionalization of teaching would take, that of pre-empting the teaching function, which, in a healthy community, belongs to everyone.”
― John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education


For me, the essay of the year on learning is: Carol Black’s: A Thousand Rivers – What the Modern World has Forgotten About Children and Learning. Here’s a quote to get you started that sounds like a seasoned scout leader could have written it:

Any wildlife biologist knows that an animal in a zoo will not develop normally if the environment is incompatible with the evolved social needs of its species. But we no longer know this about ourselves. We have radically altered our own evolved species behavior by segregating children artificially in same-age peer groups instead of mixed-age communities, by compelling them to be indoors and sedentary for most of the day, by asking them to learn from text-based artificial materials instead of contextualized real-world activities, by dictating arbitrary timetables for learning rather than following the unfolding of a child’s developmental readiness. Common sense should tell us that all of this will have complex and unpredictable results.

Hope to see you all again.

About Martin Eliasson

Ex. Coordinator for Goose-Network 2012-2014 and de-facto coordinator 2015. Former resident program manager at Vässarö and generally a nice guy. Member of European Guide and Scout Centre Managers Conference 2013, 2015 and 2017.
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