Schank on learning

Donald Clark has a great post about the failings of conventional education. It’s a quick guide to the thinking of Roger Schank: Only two things wrong with education: 1) What we teach; 2) How we teach

The whole thing is worth a read but here’s one snippet which rings very true for me:

he wants to abandon lectures memorisation and tests. Start to learn by doing and practice, not theory. Stop lecturing and delivering dollops of theory. Stop building and sitting in classrooms. We need to teach cognitive processes and acquire skills through the application of these processes, not fearing failure

And this too:

He rejects the idea that we have to fill people up with knowledge they’ll never use. Too much education and training tries, and fails, to do this. We need to identify why someone wants to learn then teach it. In this sense he puts motivation and skills before factual knowledge. One can pull in knowledge when required.

This chimes in with some of the thinking of Timothy Gallwey on the Inner Game, with his emphasis on practice and feedback over instruction and the power game of coach-as-guru.

Hat tip: Viv’s tweet

1 thought on “Schank on learning

  1. Antonio Dias


    A simple way to put it used by my friend Brett Hart at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory(, a program for inner city kids using boatbuilding as their focus:

    Remove the arbitrary! Have things matter and make expectations that people’s mastery matters to the group and will matter to them.


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