Tag Archives: learning city

Learning without end: So where are we going?

Let’s take a road trip: Imagine a group of your closest friends are traveling together, passing mile-after-mile, wandering for countless hours until one of your friends asks: “Where the hell are we going?”

Everyone nervously laughs, but no one has an answer, not even you.

Notice that in this story the name of the driver of this road trip is not yet mentioned (mainly because it was not written in the script). But you can probably assume it’s you or one of your friends, but the fact remains, there is no destination with no end in sight.

(My advanced apologies), since the intent of such a story is not to set the stage for some kind of twisted horror flick; although I admit there is a scariness about going to who knows where, without any destination.

Likewise, it may appear just as uneasy about saying learning without an end, where an activity would go on aimlessly without any clear purpose or stated objective.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story. This time, all of you actually know where you’re headed, and who’s the driver! In fact, you are going to the “big city,” driven and ushered by an experienced and exceptional tour guide who knows all the sites: the best restaurants, the coolest music, and the most popular attractions.

Suddenly, the road trip is not scary at all; it’s rather exciting, inspiring, passing place after place wondering about pointing at new things at every turn that your friend smartly asks: “Where on earth are we going?”

Everyone joyfully laughs, not knowing how to answer, still somehow not caring just the same.

So the point is, what if “Learning without end” was just like that?

Going to a “Learning City” that welcomes you with all it has to offer, accompanied by a tour guide (called facilitators in the adult learning practice) seeing together the endless trip as an intellectual journey throughout a lifetime, enjoying each attraction every stage along the way.


Call for Engagement: Doing education and learning together

Any movement that brings people to other states of awareness is often painstaking. Not because of its difficulty, but due to its surprising simplicity. A simple word such as “education” has become so complex in society that heated debates and political protests are planned on its behalf.

Some say “it’s all about the kids,” others pledge allegiance for the sake of “learning,” but even learning happens to be another contested term.

So what’s a “call for engagement”?: It is an opportunity to reconcile the continuing tensions between education and learning.  In other words, it expands the role of education and learning beyond schools, colleges, and campuses and places the classroom within communities, societies, and localities for all people, regardless of age, industry, or education level.

This call actually centers around a humble vision: “Doing education and learning together,” which means that we are all educators and learners when it comes to improving schools and changing communities; but also, when it comes to settling old debates and choosing to nourish and act upon new ideas.

So if you hear this call and believe in its vision, then become engaged through learning with one person, one citizen, and even one city at a time.


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.