Learning by Doing is, according to the subtitle, A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work. It is also what my daughters do every day. Ellie is 2. Lucy is 9 months.
Ten minutes ago we were getting them ready for bed and Lucy was playing in her room. She's pulling herself up to a standing position now. Seeing her do this makes me incredibly proud, especially considering the lengths I went to for her to accomplish this task. First I spent no small amount of time meticulously planning a lesson that I would eventually present to her. TSWBAT stand. In doing so I created a learning objective that would be visible at all times during the lesson. I backwards mapped: Lucy standing would be the performance task she'd demonstrate. I considered and included her prior knowledge while planning the lesson. Once Lucy was quietly seated at her desk (on time, before the bell rang, with all necessary materials) we jumped into the anticipatory set. The lecture began, during which I periodically checked for understanding. Individual practice ensued, followed by constructive feedback, and of course some formative assessment.
Ridiculous, huh? Two years and nine months ago we started trying for children. Here we are now, two beautiful and wonderful daughters later, and to be honest I think we're doing great. We've talked to people, read some books here and there, but mostly we are Learning by Doing. Just like Ellie and Lucy do nearly every moment of every day.
What would our schools look like if we "did" History, Math, English, the Arts, the Sciences, Foreign Languages, Wood Shop and Auto Shop? We begin our lives Learning by Doing and for an unfortunate, inordinate amount of time we stop doing and are taught. Once that is over we get back to doing and find ourselves more interested, more intrigued, better educated. Can we possibly make those schooling years more productive? More fun?