Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Learning Without Schools: Four Points To Free Yourself From The Educational Get-Certified Mantra

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I guess we can agree: the world is changing at an increasingly faster pace, and the volume of information is growing at an explosive rate. Change is the name of the game these days and who lives and works off the Internet knows how true this indeed is. But... how are we preparing and equipping our younger generations to live and to cope with such fast-paced scenario-changing realities and with the vast amount of information we drink-in and get exposed to without any crap-filtering skills?

Photo credit: Robin Good

Excerpted from my guest night at Teemu Arina's Dicole OZ in Helsinski, here are some of my strong, uncensored thoughts about school and academic education in general.

In this four-point recipe I state what I think are the some of the key new attitudes we need to consider taking if we want to truly help some of your younger generations move to a higher level of intellectual and pragmatical acumen, beyond the one that most get from our present academic system.

To be honest, I probably owe to the academic world much more than I would seem to attribute to it in this short set of videos, but I do this on purpose, as an agent provocateur who at wants to stir some reflection and questioning on things that we tend to give too much for granted.

If you believe in a different type of education and think schools and the academic system are in for some kind but deep upgrade, I think you will enjoy my four point recipe on learning and the future.


1) Learn from Reality - Not Just From a Book or from Someone Talking About It

Duration: 2' 22"

Robin Good: OK, school first. If you want to make the recipe work and smell good, school is the first element.

Understanding that school is in some way, - I don't know where I am going to get myself in this, this time it is the first time I say it - very much like a religion... something you have to do to feel OK... but it does not lead you really anywhere, because most of the times you are sitting and memorizing dumb notions that have no context for you on where to apply them, is really a great waste of time.

I have spent all the years I could in school - normal, higher, higher and went also to University.

I did not do as good as you, I did not get a PhD or I did not get the crown, but what I realized is that if you stay in that system too much, that system changes you, that system weakens you, that system teaches you that there are only so many options... and that system is meant to feed itself over and over again.

The system of the school, and the university and the work jobs that are out there in society are all working together. Who is the bad guy maneuvering?


There is not one bad guy maneuvering this stuff and getting some money in the pocket. There are a lot of bad guys doing this, thinking they are the good guys though, and so it is very difficult to defeat them because they would come to you like Christians defending the Jesus' grave if you say something like I am saying now.

But I truly believe that if you have kids today and if you want to think for their future, you should really think as if you were on a spaceship going to some planet out there.

Imagine that... you are with your kids and you have six months on this spaceship, and the mission is that when you reach that planet you are going to drop your kids over there, on that distant planet. OK?

So think seriously what you are going to teach your kids in those six moths on that spaceship and then we can talk about school again.

What are going to be the topics of that school and how the school takes place, because it is not a matter of sitting inside a box for eight hours a day to hear somebody talking.

It is a matter of being exposed to reality and play with that reality to learn it.


2) Use Your Own Head and Start Asking Questions

Duration: 1' 41"

Robin Good: Number two: If you start seeing that this school has its own limitations and it's very good for some other things - which are not the ones being promoted by the education system - that is: social life, getting to know girls, making noise when the professor does not want to but you still do, making super-funny teasing games while he is explaining and you are not being caught.

These are the great things that I learned in school.

Best schools, high-paid schools, priests, nuns, professors... it does not make a difference, that is what I see all of my friends do.

Now, I do not know if the ones who were very attentive did a lot better than me in their after-life, but that is what I found out and I see that a lot of people share that feeling.

The problem is that some of us are so good, so naturally born to be good that they, in the end, marry the school just like their religion, because it would not make sense to them to have invested all those energies otherwise. It is better to marry the cause that to question the thing in their head.

It would be too painful to think that you have wasted all those years for nothing .

My second point for the recipe is that if you make all these realizations, you then start using your head, and start using your head, basically means start making questions - something that in school is heavily repressed.

Asking questions, saying that things may look different or "I see it this other way", does not get you anywhere nice inside the school.


3) Learn by Doing and by Getting Your Hands Dirty

Duration: 2' 52"

Robin Good: Let me move to point three of that recipe: Do not believe me. Just do not believe what I say to you.

Don't take anything that comes to you as a fantastic thing , as an opportunity, as "I am going to jump on it and juts run with it".

Just stop doing that, because... I can sell myself and I really do not want to. You have to find out whether I am really good or I am not. That is my suggestion.

...and in life, wherever you go, whatever opportunity they offer you, there is always some interest that is not revealed, some lack of transparency or credibility.

People are not really out there to be loving each other and moving to a flowery life. Most of us have that desire inside, but then we must have knowledge that real life is a little tougher, and so keeping on believing what other people and companies promise you is really a losing game.

So, do not trust what I say, please. Go and find out whether that is true or not on your own.

Many people want to do the type of things that I do and ask me how do I do them, where do I go and study this stuff.

Where do you go and study this stuff?

You can learn lots of things by doing things.

You have to stop thinking that you have to open a book and enroll in a classroom to get somewhere.

Maybe this is a replica of the original point we said before, but I think it gets a little beyond that, because even at a later age, today with the economic recession, lay-offs and everything, people are starting to want to do different stuff.

They want to recycle themselves.

Some of them get even so courageous to try to do things that they like more - which is the way it should be, for all the world around.

They think that if they are going to do that, they will need to go to school again.

Now, think again. You do not need to go to school. You need to learn some different things - that is not the same.

Don't think that closing yourself in a classroom, whether online or offline - that entails listening to somebody that talks or reading texts but having no possibility to put in practice what you are doing - getting your hands dirty and making a lot of mistakes, getting other people laughing at you and you being ashamed for what you did, does nothing.

It is only a piece of paper to get inside one those companies that are going to lay you off then.

It is a passport to get into the system you really hate.


4) Make Mistakes, Get Experience, Not Certificates

Duration: 1' 18"

Robin Good: If you want to change the system, you start giving less value to these certificates and diplomas.

I do that all the time, because I would be stupid not to.

When people come to my company and say: "Can I work for you?", the first thing I look to is how much they have gone to school and how much they have been brainwashed by that system.

Because, if they come with all these "magna cum laude from X on communication and marketing multimedia studies", I know that guy is a lost guy for me.

And this is because, whatever I tell him, he knows everything already and it is very difficult to re-frame his head in a different way, because what they teach in those schools is not what we do in real life online. The more they have gone on into those studies, the older they are.

When you are 28 you are not so flexible in your head, unless you have practiced to be flexible as you were when you were 22 or 21.

That school is really much worst than these influenzas and aviary stuff that you are being scared about - which are not going to do you anything...

That was number four.

Do stuff, get your hands dirty, make mistakes, be ridiculed by people a little bit.

Come on.

Video clip originally recorded by Teemu Arina for Dicole and originally published as "Robin Good - The Sharewood Formula".

Teemu Arina -
Reference: Dicole [ Read more ]
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posted by on Thursday, March 18 2010, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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