La cité éducative comme un Learning Hub

J’ai redécouvert dans les derniers jours un texte rédigé par Seymour Papert et David Cavallo en 2000 et qui prend la forme d’un Call for Action at the Local and Global level. Ils y décrivent le concept de Learning Hub.

Toutes les bases du projet de cité éducative y sont remarquablement exprimées. Ce sera un texte fondamental pour guider mes actions dans les prochaines semaines. En faire une traduction ne serait pas bête non plus pour faciliter sa diffusion dans la région de Québec.

J’en retiens quelques extraits ‹ mais attention, il faut vraiment tout lire!


Sur la vision…

Vision is a mindset with two characteristics: it refuses to be bound by assumptions that what has been always will be; and it is willing to bring hard work and rigorous, tough-minded thinking to bear on elaborating alternatives.

Sur les conditions nécessaires…

…the work of making realistic and rich visions requires conditions that are unfortunately rare. They include: time to think, communities of like-minded people to think with, diverse forms of knowledge to fuel the thinking, and real-world experiences to keep the thinking under control. The concept of a Learning Hub described here is directed at creating these conditions.

Sur les convictions qui doivent être patagées…

Each Learning Hub is made up of people who believe the following propositions:

1. Very deep changes in the learning environment are already possible and desirable; they will become more urgently necessary with the spread of digital technology.

2. Steps towards the introduction of computers in schools fall far short of the changes that must come.

3. These larger changes will not come as automatic consequences of the presence of technology in schools. Serious intellectual effort is needed to define new forms of learning. Serious efforts of social consciousness-raising are needed before the public will accept the changes.

Sur les structures à mettre en place… et les principes qui doivent les guider!

Organization is needed to give direction and form to the work mentioned in number 3 above. The organization we propose under the name « Learning Hub » can take many different forms but a few principles are constant.

1. A first principle is that theoretical work in the armchair or ivory tower is insufficient as is trying to import « ready to wear models » from elsewhere. Each Learning Hub must take responsibility for at least one operation that models a full alternative to a significant component of traditional education. The obvious example is to operate a school that uses modern technologies and ideas about learning to break with current practice sufficiently strongly to call well-established principles into question. Examples of specific ways in which this might be done are discussed later in this paper.

2. Practical work is also insufficient. Each Learning Hub must have the structure and the staff to act as a theoretical center as well as conducting educational work. Again this can be done in different ways. We believe that the ideal form is to have a system of « Learning Fellows » young people of great talent and dedication who would work at a Hub full-time for a period of several years. If local conditions make this impossible other forms of involvement can be imagined. But the example of a full-time, multiple-year fellowship provides a measure of the scaleof commitment we believe necessary for success.

3. Each Learning Hub should start small not only because of difficulties in obtaining resources but because we think that it is better that it grow in an organic way and to follow the biological model of splitting before it becomes too large. A measure of what we mean by small is given by the image of the pilot school operation involving at most 100 students (perhaps as few as 25 in the first year) and the fellows program recruiting 4 for the first year.

Sur l’importance de cultiver l’ouverture d’esprit

Nonetheless it would be futile to expect regional or national authorities to commit themselves overnight to far reaching policies of change. The plan presented in this paper offers a way for them to explore alternative visions and to create a culture of openness to deep change in the near future.

The crux of the plan is the creation of a network of initially very small entities we call « Learning Hubs. » These « nuclei of change » could be self-contained organizations created for this purpose; they could be « departments » of larger existing organizations, or indeed take any one of many other forms. The essence is not the form but the function, which we summarize under these heads, Vision, Organization, and Networking. The two primary requirements in each participating area are to create at least one new « out of the box » pilot of an innovative learning environment and to form a local group of « learning activists » to develop, guide, research and help others appropriate successful models.

Sur la collaboration nécessaire…

This paper was written to precipitate discussion and action. All its ideas are formulated in the expectation that others who agree with them in principle will contribute to their further development.

We are sending the paper to a small group of educators who might be interested in joining this endeavor.

Je me sens évidemment interpellé!

2 commentaires

  1. Mots de Seymour Papert (…)

    «Il faut être gentil et courtois avec vos professeur(e)s et votre entourage, car ils vous apprennent des choses, et par la suite, c¹est vous qui leur en apprendrez» (Rapporté par Jérémie Duguay). «Considérez, par analogie, l’ex Union-Soviétique. Qu’est…

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