Learning is usually seen as an individual process, best separated from other of our activities, and the result of teaching.
With this perspective, we organize classrooms where students, free from the distractions of their participation in the surrounding world, can pay attention to a teacher.
But… We are profoundly social in nature.
Learning always takes place in a social context, in the relationship between student and teacher, student and student, and the social climate a person finds themselves in.
We are learning all the time.
At a basic level, we are taking in sensory data, organizing it, signaling it to other parts of ourselves for memory, or feeling, representing it and transmitting it to others.
Learning is what we do.
While you are walking down the street appreciating a particular linden tree simultaneous with the memory of a friend, the sound of their voice, and thinking about an article in the news, the insight about the friend’s recent behaviour, the witnessing of the beauty of the linden, and your reflective thoughts are learning in process.
From time to time we may have to pay particular attention to a particular subject or activity, and developing the skills to do this is very necessary.
But to create lifelong learners, individuals who can participate in life deciphering the vast field of connections they live in socially, emotionally, and intellectually, and bring meaning to their lives, is the greater goal of learning.
So the ‘packaging’ of knowledge into pieces of information, then presenting them in designed units (curriculum), out of any context but the isolation of the classroom, is only a small and limited part of the process of learning.
Learning takes place in active participation in social communities as a result of our social natures.