Seymour Papert on project based learning in 1991:
Again, one of my favorite little analogies: If I wanted to become a
better carpenter, I’d go find a good carpenter, and I’ll work with this
carpenter on doing carpentry or making things. And that’s how I’ll get
to be a better carpenter. So if I want to be a better learner, I’ll go
find somebody who’s a good learner and with this person do some
learning. But this is the opposite of what we do in our schools. We
don’t allow the teacher to do any learning. We don’t allow the kids to
have the experience of learning with the teacher because that’s
incompatible with the concept of the curriculum where what is being
taught is what’s already known.
First, this is just common sense, right? If we value kids becoming learners, then we should surround them with learners to apprentice with. But being a learner requires grappling with things that aren’t “already known.” (Whenever we talk about learning in my workshops someone always defines it as gaining new knowledge.) But teachers live 95% of the time in the “already known” because that’s the whole point of curriculum delivery. We know it, and now we’ve got to get them to know it.
Second, if kids becoming learners and teachers acting as learners isn’t what we value most in schools, we’ve got bigger problems than we think. Yet, how many put that at the forefront of their vision statements?