Free Range Learning in #rhizo15

Urban Dictionary

I’m coining a phrase today folks…get out your urban dictionaries.


In reference to students being able to have to choice to pursue their subjectives, not our objectives, in regards to their eduction (e.g. Ron Samul‘s awesome un-assignment he posted about)…I give you:


Organic learning, free of added fillers and pesticides (so sicced!), humane (human even), with learners who are able to wander where they desire, exploring what interests them, what they hunger for.

(Yes, I could pretty much go on overdrive with the metaphor).

Where’s @dogtrax when I need him to create a logo?



Filed under teaching and learning

7 responses to “Free Range Learning in #rhizo15

  1. Love the new hashtag! Very siced.


  2. Nice phrase. Happens to be the title of a book published in 2010 about natural learning.


    • Lisa Chamberlin

      Yes, I’ve since discovered it in a Twitter post in March, and a few other places. I think it is one of those phrases that falls lots of people’s minds for similar reasons. (As a nice blog tag line, for example…lol).


    • Lisa Chamberlin

      You know it is funny timing with that image. A couple was cycling by my house yesterday, and in the 5 seconds that their conversation drifted by, I heard this:
      “Yeah, my mom never knew where we were in those days.”
      “I agree. Especially in the summer. We were free all day to roam the neighborhoods, parks, the swimming pool, play with our friends, and just occasionally check in. The only real rule was ‘Be home by dark’.”

      And as they coasted around the corner, the boyfriend/husband chuckled in rememberance, “Dark was at 10 o’clock!”

      We’ve gone to such lengths (I can only speak about here in America) to be more involved parents than our parents had been, and to keep our children safe from everything bad, that the idea of unstructured time – to roam, to play, to explore, and dare I say learn, is now considered bad parenting. The only kids roaming the streets “unstructured’ these days are considered the rabble, whose parents don’t care enough about them to send them to soccer camp, and and Scouts, and music, and arranged play dates supervised and with organized activities.

      Of course that’s not true, but it’s a perception. No one talks about the cost of all that micro-parenting – to the family income, to the relationship between the adults, and to the children who have never heard the words “down time”.

      These were the parents who sparked the national attention here. (Disclaimer: I had some trepidation – not over the unstructured time they allow their kids, but the distances they allowed them to roam for the ages they were in a very large city. Free range doesn’t have to equal dangerous or without scaffolding).

      Kids need unstructured time for imagination to flourish, for developing skills of self-direction and self-discipline, for developing problem solving skills, and teamwork, and negotiation , and all those other things we complain about a lack of in the new generation heading into the workforce.

      We reap what we sow.


      • francesbell

        I think the motor car is a lot of the problem. Some of our favourite family holidays when my children were growing up were with another family at Center Parcs where there were no cars just bikes (and lots of open space).
        There is a really interesting map from a generational study in this article
        I had a lot of freedom as a child – out all day with friends, and I remember my mother saying that she left my older brother asleep in the pram in the garden while she went to queue for rationed fish during WW2. In Britain today, noone would leave a baby in a pram outside a shop even in a small town or village. Getting the balance between protection and freedom is tough for parents but I think we have gone too far over to protection.


  3. Just noticed I had used this term April 14 in the FB group. For me, it was a slight departure from “free-choice learning” which John Falk and Lynn Dierking have written about.


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