School is boring!

School is boring!

How often have we heard this sentence!  Googling the expression will give more than 60 million results.

Most education “innovators” start with the same statement “school is boring” and end up with the same conclusion ” let’s change it”.

But our innovators arrive late. Let’s look back in history for a moment.

For centuries, brillant educators have introduced innovative methods and practices based on a simple conviction: school shouldn’t be boring!

Saint Augustine in the fourth century defined education as “a process of posing problems and seeking answers through conversation”.

The Saint Augustine Taken to School by Saint Monica. by Niccolò di Pietro 1413-15

The Saint Augustine Taken to School by Saint Monica. by Niccolò di Pietro 1413-15

After him, Swedish educator Ellen Key, German education reformer Kurt Hahn, Italian paediatrician Maria Montessori, Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner, French educator, Célestin Freinet, British visionary A.S. Neil, Catalan anarchist Francisco Ferrer y Guardia, American psychologist John Dewey, Brazilian educator Paulo Freire all envisaged education as a dialogue, flowing from learner to teachers and back.

Their ideas and methods are however still considered as marginal and categorized as  “alternative” as no other words seem to fit them.

We are prompt nowadays to celebrate any innovation in education, advocate for education entrepreneurship but we forget the truly disruptive nature of innovation, i.e. restore freedom to learn and freedom to teach as a central component of any education system.

Students and teachers require after all two basic “rights” to do their jobs right: engage into continuous dialogue and be free to learn and teach.

All education innovators should help strengthening these basic rights.


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