If you sit kids down, hour after hour, doing low-grade clerical work, don't be surprised if they start to fidget.

Life flourishes in jungles

What is a "skill"? A skill is not just knowing how to hammer a nail into the wall or add numbers together. A skill is a much broader definition of our mental and physical capacity to "do stuff".

Empathy, patience and persistence, for example, are also skills. Kids need to learn all sorts of skills not just what is in textbooks. But how do kids learn skills? How do they not learn?

Here's what happens:

  1. We want kids to learn.
  2. Kids want to learn.
  3. So how come so often kids don't end up learning despite our desperate efforts to make them learn?
  4. Because our teachings are linear and not organic - because we make them learn and don't let them learn. Because we don't teach in context.

The complex web of connections between fun and education, science and drama, reality and fiction means that learning has got to be a wholesome exercise. Human beings' ability to understand, remember, relate, perform, plan, etc. are all organic. Our ability to learn is also organic. Skills are interconnected and can't and won't work independently. Schools too often separate heads from bodies - we need to use our whole selves to teach the whole of our children.

Is the best way to learn to sit down and read or listen to a teacher? How often do you find that your best ideas happen while moving around, singing & drawing, driving, etc.

There are a bunch of activities on this page that engage different parts of our minds and bodies such as imagination, curiosity, physical skills, emotions, independence, focus, respect, social skills, opinion forming, charity, nature, problem solving, etc. Most of the time a single activity simultaneously teaches multiple skills. There is so much overlap, so much complexity.

This is a complex and rather abstract topic and I'm not sure if I'm explaining it properly. To hear an excellent explanation, watch this amazing video: Sir Ken Robinson's talk, titled "Bring on the Learning Revolution".

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