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Issue 47 - 02 | Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track

By Russell Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg
Published June 4, 2008 8:52 p.m.
Education should be a lifelong enterprise, a process enhanced by an environment that supports to the greatest extent possible the attempt of people to “find themselves” throughout their lives.

For too long, we have educated people for a world that no longer exists, extinguishing their creativity and instilling values antithetical to those of a free, 21st century democracy. The principal objective of education as currently provided is to ensure the maintenance and preservation of the status quo—to produce members of society who will not want to challenge any fundamental aspects of the way things are. Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. It incorrectly assumes that for every ounce of teaching, there is an ounce of learning by those who are taught. Being taught is, to a very large extent, boring and much of its content is seen as irrelevant. It is the teacher, not the student, who learns most in a traditional classroom.

About Russell Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg | Russell L. Ackoff is Anheuser Busch Professor Emeritus of management science at The Wharton School. He has authored over 20 books and 250 articles, and has conducted research for more than 300 corporations and government agencies. His most recent books include Re-Creating the Corporation, Ackoff’s Best, Redesigning Society, Beating the System, and Idealized Design: Creating an Organization’s Future. Daniel Greenberg is a founding member of the Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Massachusetts. His books include Free at Last, Kingdom of Childhood, A Clearer View, The Pursuit of Happiness, Legacy of Trust, Worlds in Creation, A New Look at Schools, and Education in America.

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