LEARNing: Changed circumstances – unlearning and relearning (#2)

Learning, unlearning, and relearning.  How do we practice learning, unlearning, and relearning?  How do we model lifelong learning for our young learners?

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. ” Alvin Toffler

While I love Alvin Toffler’s quote, I will confess that I don’t think I have understood the ideas of unlearn and relearn until today.  Do I practice unlearning? Have I even experienced unlearning and relearning?

“Unlearning is required when the world or your circumstances in that world have changed so completely that your old habits now hold you back.”  (Davidson, 19 pag.)

Have our circumstances at school changed so completely that old habits are holding back progress?  Am I holding on to my old habits so hard that I am holding back my learners? Every learner has access to amazing amounts of information at their fingertips via their smart phone, iPad, and computer. YIKES!  Circumstances have changed.

“It means becoming a student again because your training doesn’t comprehend the task before you.  You have to, first, see your present patterns, then, second, you have to learn how to break them.  Only then do you have a chance of seeing what you are missing? (Davidson, 19 pag.)

What habits have I tried to break or change to see what I’m missing?  What have I been willing unlearn and relearn?

“Unlearning requires that you take an inventory of your changed situation, that you take an inventory of your current repertoire of skills, and that you have the confidence to see your shortcomings and repair them.” (Davidson, 86 pag.)

  • Integrated studies – Synergy: What if school looked more like real life?
    • Will students learn if they choose the problems to investigate?
    • Will they be motivated to work and learn if they are not graded?
    • When learners have an authentic audience, will they write and work at a higher level?
  • Balanced Assessment – Leveled formative assessment to help our learners level up
    • Will students learn without being graded?
    • Will they “level up” if they can see where they are and where we want them to be prior to the test?
    • Will learners self-correct if given a second chance on tests?
      •  Is time a variable and learning a constant?
      • Can we improve confidence and efficacy by offering mulligans?
Circumstances have changed.  How will we learn, unlearn, and relearn.  


Davidson, Cathy N.  Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. New York: Viking, 2011. Print.

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