Learning: The Factory Model versus the Flow


Reposted from Creative by Nature:

The flow experience is intrinsically rewarding, sometimes transcendent. There’s a sense of timelessness and deep connectedness with the activity and context, as our full attention is given to the task at hand. Motivational researcher Carol Dweck talks about such experiences as evidence of a “growth mindset,” a positive attitude toward learning that leads to even more practice time, and greater skill development.

Unfortunately, most schools were not created to promote flow experiences, growth orientations or mastery learning. Our modern school systems were designed at the request of wealthy industrialists in the early part of the 20th century, using what is called the “factory model” of education. The purpose was to create good workers, teach children how to work hard, follow instructions and obey authority. Factory-style schools were modeled on industrial production systems and set up as “selection” and sorting systems for children. Teachers would provide information and then assess everyone at the same time in order to locate those children who demonstrated the highest levels of ability on written tests- not to provide meaningful experiences and skill development for all students.

In such environments many students will naturally feel discouraged, especially those who receive low test scores. They often feel anxiety, lose confidence and interest. Once they “turn off” and no longer pay attention they experience boredom. After that, they will try to avoid that subject area rather than spend any extra time with it. The factory model was designed to sort children into social classes, to create “winners” and “losers.” Those who continuously failed would eventually “drop out” or leave school without coming even close to developing their full potential.

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