The thing about learning is we forget; #etmooc

The thing about learning is we forget… Jamshed Bharucha

Thank you, Gabriel Bunster, so much for leading me to this TED TALK by Jamshed Bharucha. I have been pondering this dilemma for years as I am required to post and teach specific objectives the students will learn. Yet, as I understand this TED Talk, contrary to current pedagogy, when working in context, the whole process is part of the learning and builds context so that the learning is remembered.

Learning by skills provides no context and while the initial “learning” test indicates a high level of learning, the retention of those skills is not as successful as when learning within a context– a project — a “doing” of the process.

When reading with dialogue about the story as in a Socratic Seminar, the reader builds context and responds with inference and generalizations based on the text. The learning is practicing the complex skills of a good reader. The learning IS learning the more complex skills and the basic skills by “doing” the reading and dialogue. This has more impact on retention and learning than saying, “Today we are practicing our ‘inference’ skills.”

In my own experience, this is what works with kids: the project requires students to practice and apply, and therefore, learn the skills. It is the process of learning by doing holistically that allows students to improve and grow with even complex skills. Currently we are breaking “reading” and “writing” into step by step skills instead of allowing students the dignity of doing real reading and writing, and building from their practice through our discussions, conferences, collaboration, and sharing. Thank you for sharing this marvelous video.


Jamshed Bharucha”The dirty little secret about learning…: Jamshed Bharucha at TEDxCooperUnion

How does this relate to Genius Hour ( #geniushour ) and project/problem/passion based learning (PBL)? I think it makes the case for more time on authentic learning and less time of intervention skills.  What say you?