The Future of Learning – A letter to Learnlife

Learnlife was founded with the mission to positively impact education worldwide. As part of this global movement, we collaborate with educators, learning innovators and thought leaders to inspire positive change.

Often, this inspiration comes from visiting our Learn Hubs to witness innovation in action and build meaningful connections. In April, we had the pleasure of welcoming David Penberg, a highly experienced educator, teacher and writer, to our Hubs.

David is a passionate advocate for creating vibrant, joyful, and integrated learning communities. With nearly four decades of experience working with students and teachers, David’s approach is rooted in agency and democratic practices.

At Learnlife, we share David’s dedication to fostering a love of learning in people of all ages and backgrounds. As the Leader-in-Residence at 2Revolutions, David works closely with various organisations, and he visited us to explore potential synergies with Learnlife.

We were moved by David’s feedback on his experience with us and his thoughts on the future of education. Here, we share David’s reflections on his visit, as told in his own words.

Reflections from an inspiring visit by David Penberg

The Future of Learning is not to be found inside of white papers or the four walls of traditional schools. It can be. And perhaps by osmosis, it must. But for now, I will attest it lives, thrives, and is continuously evolving at Learnlifes Urban and Eco Hubs.

If I were an 8-year-old and belonged to a place that made me want to wake up excited every morning, where we had daily field trips to the beach or the woods and visited other schools or places where older people live, a place so special that I’d even tell my parents about what I did when they ask me at dinner, –it would be the Eco Hub.

And if I were a 15-year-old who was profoundly bored with school but wanted to make movies, locate my voice and my mentors, and use my time deliberately to gain knowledge of my craft in a supportive and self-driven space — I’d want to belong to the urban hub.

These are not schools. Schools expect compliance and control. Hubs are centered in the spoke of purposeful and playFULL experience. To succeed at one requires unlearning. The older we are, the more to unlearn. The more responsibility to assume for our learning. Unlearning has to do with letting go of all the diminishing, controlling habits of distraction and disaffection that school instills

Learnlife is the unschool we all wish we could have gone to, but might be able to provide for not only our children but for all the children now that we have imagined how to do this.

Urban Hub and Eco Hubs: Where time is spent in intellectual and discerning work, in small groups, pairs, solo, in literacy-charged spaces that are attuned to the developmental learning styles of children and adolescents. Where materials and spaces complement one another, and space is a second teacher. Where learning, because it is passion driven, has the compelling power to push young people intellectually and emotionally. Where learning is having a sense of heightened belonging and creativity.

You see, they “get children,” adolescents, and young adults. Their intrinsic desire is more than the external need –to explore, to engage their curiosity, and exercise agency with their bodies along with their minds in the world.

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