Knowledge is created, not communicated

I love this phrase. It refers to the paradigm shift first proposed by Paulo Freire (Pedagogy of the Oppressed) in 1968. He said that traditional pedagogy treats people like empty vessels to be filled with knowledge (the “banking” approach to education) and he called for an approach that treats the learner as a co-creator of knowledge. The book influenced a lot of adult education (‘andragogy’) practitioners.

I’m a big fan of adult learning expert Stephen Brookfield, whose great books explain why this is so important and how to put this into practice. One of his books made me change careers. Brookfield takes his role as a ‘guide on the side’ (as opposed to ‘sage on stage’) very seriously. The goal is always to empower people to make a difference. His techniques focus on facilitating groups that create knowledge together while they learn new skills.

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