Monday, January 6, 2014

What constitutes learning?

Flashback to my senior year of high school: students frantically filling out college applications, checking class rank, hoping to get into one of the Ivy League schools as opposed to a junior year college.

I can remember my frantic push to get into my dream college while in high school. At the time, the only thing I thought was relevant were the courses I took in my International Baccalaureate high school. When I was in college, I pushed to make straight 4.0s. And, at the end of my college experience, I was tasked with finding my first "real" job.

When I interviewed for my first job, the interviewers checked over my education as that was all there was to go on. However, after my first job teaching, I can't say my education - my three degrees, GPA, honors, etc. - have ever been brought up or have been the deciding mark on whether or not I got the job.

So, if a person's collegiate background is not as critical in the long run, what is? And, why aren't those skills given credit?

In the push to award badges for learning that does not follow the standard high school/college route, I would like to see learning be redefined. When is something constituted as learning and how can it be recognized in a global manner? Do we have to go down the standard 4-year college path or can other experiences constitute as learning?

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