The Power of Words

lightstock_129013_medium_user_2273690Out of curiosity, I looked up the words “school” and “education.”  Strange.  In neither of those definitions did I find the words “learn,” or “learning.”  Should I be worried?  Should I blame  I see a lot about instruction, training, pedagogy, but nothing on students or learning.  Isn’t that a problem?

Worse yet . . . doesn’t that get at why we can’t seem to make the shift into new ways of thinking about teaching and learning that impact all of our students and teachers?

Seems like we may be long overdue for some name changes.  Most schools still fall under the category of “organization” (that’s changing more and more, but bear with me for now . . . ).  Instead of “schools,” why not “learning organizations?”  Instead of “education,” why not “learning experience(s),” with educators as “learning collaborators” or “partners?”

I’m struck by the ways in which these old standbys, education and schools, speak to a time that needs to be long gone.  I wonder if all of the new learning possibilities will make these words irrelevant in my lifetime.

I hope so.


  1. Molly on November 17, 2010 at 3:30 am

    Hmmm … I particularly like the “learning collaborators” …. especially in view of the idea (from Randy Nelson of Pixar) that collaboration involves taking something (an idea, thought etc) and making it more! Not sure I am explaining it well but it means that by being collaborators we create something that could not be created on our own.

  2. Gayle on November 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Yes! I agree. It’s a collaborative process, rather than a teacher-centered process. We create the learning experience together. : )