Discipleship, Ivan Illich, Life Learning, Unschooling

Reflections on Illich 09: Learning in life ensures that education is relevent and real

Illich, I. (1970). Deschooling Society. Cuernavaca, Mexico: CIDOC.  Downloadable from: http://www.preservenet.com/theory/Illich/Deschooling/intro.html

p. 23  “A deschooled society implies a new approach to incidental or informal education.”

In a formal schooling situation, learning is standardized and presented as a curriculum.  However, much of the learning that takes place is learning for examinations, not learning for life.  Very little of what is learned for examinations is retained beyond the examination.  In fact, a whole lot of self-learning usually needs to take place, after schooling has finished, for young people to become useful in a vocation.

On the other hand, learning in life (expanding knowledge from the events, situations and opportunities that present themselves as you go about daily routines) ensures that learning is anchored in reality.  This incidental and oftentimes informal learning is usually the learning that remains.

At this time, society tends to give more value to formalized school learning.  However, those who have been unschooled, and especially those who have been unschooled with a discipleship emphasis, will prove to be the most useful and adaptive participants in the broader society, because their learning is relevant, and much more anchored in reality.


One thought on “Reflections on Illich 09: Learning in life ensures that education is relevent and real

  1. ronald slyderink says:

    I agree with you from my experience as a teacher. Formal teaching and learning is focusing on the wrong things wasting much time, resources and energy. Not only that, it is indoctrinating young people to have beliefs and values which mitigate against life the way God has designed it. Leaving God out and reducing him is the biggest mistake you can make in education as wisdom will be lacking.

    We should as a pedagogical principle immerse ourselves and our students or young people in life and living and design learning experiences from there. The main caveat however is that we have an underlying ethical/moral structure or foundation that drives it. Now, not anything goes, indeed, there is only one sure way of gaining wisdom in what and how we learn and teach and that is in following and focusing on Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God. We cannot escape that reality, nor ignore the consequences that will follow if we do not.


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