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Nothing Worth Learning Can Be Taught

Teaching can provide clues for worthwhile learning but doesn’t produce it.
Updated June 11, 2023 | Reviewed by Hara Estroff Marano

I find myself increasingly annoyed by the frequent equation of teaching with learning, heard not just from school authorities but also from journalists and others who seem to assume, thoughtlessly, that learning is something that occurs chiefly if not entirely in school and is the product of teaching.

We hear statements like, “Because of COVID students lost a year of learning.” I was once invited into a PBS radio debate on the question, “Should summer, for children, be devoted to play or to learning?” My debate opponent was a leader of an organization that was lobbying to extend the school year through the summer because “so much learning is lost in the summer.” Somehow it wasn’t obvious to either the program host or my debate opponent that lots of real learning occurs in play and lots of fake learning occurs in school.

I first began thinking about the disconnect between teaching and learning decades ago, when I started teaching at Boston College and began to realize… source

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