Today we are living in a country with outdated curriculum and for the  most part a strictly formal learning environment. Students sit behind  desks and zone out as the teacher rambles on about the U.S  constitution and Shakespeare. It is time to start bringing more non-  formal learning into the classroom. Most of the content area taught in  school can be taught even better non formally. Instead of lecturing to the students about the subject in today’s lesson plan give them the subject and have them do some research. That way they are engaged in their learning by reading, watching videos, and picking out information they think is important. Have them write a blog about the subject and comment on one another’s blogs adding important information and discussing the topic. Or have them do the research and them come together in small groups or as a class and discuss their findings.

Should we wipe out formal education completely? No.. in some instances formal education is necessary and it is important we keep pieces of it in the curriculum. When students enter the real world to get jobs though they won’t need to know how to sit behind a desk and listen. They will need to know how to research, discuss, and work in teams to create and improve. The only way for them to learn how to do these things is to implement it in the classroom. I’m not saying non-formal learning is all we need to make it in the 21st century. I’m just saying we need more of it because we aren’t getting enough and in some cases we aren’t getting any. With non-formal learning students are not only learning necessary life building skills but they are retaining more information because they are engaged.

A perfect example of how to implement non-formal learning in the classroom is shown in Wendy Drexler’s video, Networked Student.

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