I admire people who can say important things with concision and precision.
When the subject is a topic as complex as teaching and learning, I admire it even more.
Marion Brady did just that in a recent essay:
“No textbook ever printed, no lecture ever delivered, no computer program ever written puts school subjects to more relevant use, more thoroughly engages every thought process, or more directly simulates creativity, than learning by doing while thinking about it.”
Put another way, “learning by doing while thinking about it” means learning through engagement in worthwhile, challenging activities that require thinking deeply about them both during that engagement and afterwards.
That’s the kind of learning environment I would like all students and educators to experience every day.
For students, that would mean deep, sustained engagement in meaningful long-term projects and in solving real-world problems with other students and adult collaborators.
For educators, that would mean deep, sustained interdependent engagement with their colleagues, meaningfully supported by their leaders, as they address the most challenging issues of teaching and learning.
While “presenters” and “motivational speakers” may play a minor role in such professional development, they are not its sum and substance.
Instead, “learning by doing while thinking about it” means team-focused, hands on participation in lesson planning, assessment of students’ work, and seeking solutions to pressing classroom problems, among other things.
What’s your experience with learning by doing that includes ample time for reflection on the learning?