What is keeping my teen from learning?

What is keeping my teen from learning?

“We teachers – perhaps all human beings – are in the grip of an astonishing delusion.”

Our astonishing delusion about education.

“We think that we can take a picture, a structure, a working model of something, constructed in our minds out of long experience and familiarity, and by turning that model into a string of words, transplant it whole into the mind of someone else.”

Trying to implant our knowledge in the brain of another.

“Perhaps once in a thousand times, when the explanation is extraordinary good, and the listener extraordinarily experienced and skillful at turning word strings into non-verbal reality, and when the explainer and listener share in common many of the experiences being talked about, the process may work, and some real meaning may be communicated.”

It’s easier to share knowledge when you’re in close relationship with a lot of non-verbal sharing.

“Most of the time, explaining does not increase understanding, and may even lessen it.”

– John Holt, (1923-1985) American Educator,  in How Children Learn

The more impersonal and disconnected the relationship, the harder it is to share knowledge.
Open Doors teens at the beach — because sharing real life experiences leads to sharing real life knowledge. (And it’s fun!)

This post is part of our “Your Life – Your Learning!” series, designed to help the Grand Rapids community rethink teen learning, and brought to you with support from the Wege Foundation.  If your teen isn’t learning in the classroom, come find out more at our Open House on Monday, October 13 at 12 noon.

Festive Finale 2014

To celebrate the inaugural year of the Open Doors Center, we gathered with families and friends for a picnic and play.  In no particular order, here are some highlights.

basketball 2
More Basketball!
Food, including vegan and gluten-free options!
one hula hoop
Hula hooping!
Rebecca and Lucy
Our director, Rebecca Kirk. What looks like small horse behind her is actually her dog, a sweet and gentle Great Pyrenees named Lucy.
two hula hoops
This guy! Yeah, that’s two hula hoops. At one point he did 3, and tried juggling at the same time. It didn’t last long enough to get a picture, but we know what he’ll be working on over the summer.
walking in the park
This looks like an innocent walk in the park, but there’s actually a petty crime process — she stole his hat.
water balloon mischief
Water balloon mischief (check his hands).

If play is how humans learn best, then we were learning all afternoon — but all we cared about was the fun!

We wrapped up the evening with yearbooks, a closing circle, frozen yogurt, and a private screening of Slender:  The Short Film.

Thank you to everyone who was a part of the Open Doors Center’s first year — it has been an amazing journey.  Happy Summer, and we hope to see you at our laid-back, do-what-works-for-you Summer Art Program!