Tag Archives: education

Building a Real “Learning City”

A favorite game of mine was “Sim City” (the old version), where as mayor, you get a chance to build a bustling metropolis, full of promise. Very soon you learn a valuable lesson: With good choices come not-so-good outcomes.

Although Sim City was a simulation, one cannot help but wonder how a real city could be built?   For example, Urban Planning and Policy have always formulated plans to build better cities and communities.  But I’ve noticed, often removed from their design, is a blueprint for building “A Learning City.”

The phrase has gained international appeal that speaks to the economic impact of education in society, where individuals are referred as “human capital” and education depicted as a “product with expected results.”

The learning city that I’m talking about goes a step farther.  A step where K-12 elementary and secondary education as well as college and higher education are not the sole responsibility of educators, but an entire community including parents, families, businesses, organizations, and governments.

Such a city would view individuals as not only human capital, but as many have argued, also social and cultural capital.  Social capital accepts an individual’s diversity and uniqueness, while cultural capital includes a supportive environment that embraces different approaches to education and learning.

In this way, a learning city continues to learn through its citizens, where education and learning is ongoing, continual, and lifelong.  The alternative outcome takes its challenges as learning opportunities to evolve into real-world examples for societies to emulate.


The Best Doctors. Lawyers, and Educators

Apologies if the title implies another top 10 list, since the intention was to comment about what makes the best doctors, lawyers, and educators. I’m honored to see medical doctors practicing in underdeveloped countries, helping the sick, instead of scheduling dates in opulent offices reached by appointment only.

They’re the best doctors: bringing medicine to the sick. Same with lawyers, when they offer legal advice or represent a client ‘for the good’ of the profession and legal system. But what makes the best educators? In the case of medical doctors, how good would they be, if they only cared for the healthy; the same with lawyers, if their only clients were those who knew the law well.

It follows that the best educators are those who provide education to the ones who need it. I caution to say uneducated, because unlike the sick or poorly represented, being uneducated assumes that a ‘fully’ educated exists.

It is probably this point, among others, that distinguishes the three professions. While medical doctors can make us healthier, if a patient dies, the doctor doesn’t die too. If the client is sentenced to jail, the lawyer doesn’t serve the same sentence. But if the learner fails, the educator fails as well.  Not just because of poor practices, doctors and lawyers can do that also, but in preparing learners to become the teachers of educators now and continuing.

In a way, the best educators are investors with a portfolio of healthy, law-abiding, and troubled assets; from grade school to retirement home;  rural and urban, and having scheduled appointments or not.