What is missing from this classic Chinese proverb on learning?

What is missing from this classic Chinese proverb on learning?
by Fred M Beshears
13 February 2021

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”
-Chinese Proverb

All three factors are important to learning. However, at least one factor is missing: motivation.

Why would a kid, or a grown up, want to learn something?

One approach is to mix learning in with fun activities that build bonds of friendship.

This is one reason for having study groups in the first place. They work especially well if your group’s activities build bonds of friendship. When this happens, studying becomes a part of your social life, not something that distracts from it.

Also, one reason distance learning has such a bad reputation is that it’s usually associated with studying alone.

Many rightly worry that self-study in isolation can be very alienating. However, one very old idea from our past experience with distance learn is the student-led study group that works with online learning materials.

Online leaning can also free students to learn in places where it is relatively cheap to live and fun to be. For example, there are summer camps that are under-utilized in non-summer months. They often have cabins and facilities for group activities (e.g. cooking, eating, dancing, nature hikes, swimming when its warm enough, and student-led small group discussion). So, students who would like to try team learning in such places are much more free to do so with online learning technology.

At Stanford in the early 1970s, the small study group approach to distance learning was called Tutored Video Instruction. Now, the idea of organizing students into small, student-led groups is called team learning.

For more on TVI at Stanford, check out this article by John Seely Brown.

John Seely Brown on Tutored Video Instruction



Circle Piners,

I’m looking for recommendations of names of candidate summer camps and boarding schools that might be interested in what I describe above.

Of course, there is Circle Pines, and I know there are also lists of summer camps – e.g. by the American Camping Association. However, I don’t know who would be willing/able to play ball.

Then there are boarding schools in nice rural places (e.g. Quaker ones like Scattergood in Iowa and Barnesville in Ohio) that are busy nine months of the year, but under-utilized during the summer.

One key part of what I’m toying with is that online learning allows one to have a division of labor between those who worry about the curriculum (i.e. the ones who are in the teaching, learning, and content development business) and those who specialized in maintaining a nice, physical learning environment (i.e. the ones who are in the campus, dorm, food service business).

Of course, I’d love to see Circle Pines members develop some of its own content and online course material – i.e. courses that could be used at CPC and elsewhere. For example, perhaps some Circle Piners could help develop courses such as: The History of the Co-op Movement, Co-op Economics, and What the Co-op Movement Can Teach Those Who Now Advocate Stakeholder Capitalism.

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