The Constraints Of Freedom

In writing job descriptions for faculty at CreatEd Institute, I used a phrase “constraints of freedom,” to help describe the role of an educator. The following story by Seth Godin is probably the simplest demonstration I have seen of why this idea is important.

It mirrors the frustration that John Dewey faced in the development of progressive education. See Experience And Education. When you say the word freedom, people tend to think “no rules.” However, in a classroom, this does not promote learning unless students have already internalized a certain set of rules or values through which they can effectively use the learning space. Until that point of internalization (and increasingly less afterward), it is the responsibility of the educator to create an environment with adequate external supports that students can use to develop the internal processes of learning, which, when fully grown, make a learning community an ideal place to thrive!

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