Why time flexible learning is great

Updated: Apr 18

We don’t all want to do social studies at 10am on Tuesday morning. We don’t learn maths best in E4, and Friday at 1pm is not necessarily the best time for science. Some of us adore the art teacher, but some are put off by their style. Who says 60 minutes on one subject is optimum, (with often 5 or more subjects in timetabled slots per day)? Often secondary schools provide a strict timetabled delivery of the curriculum that is dissected by age, interest, ability, often gender, time, and environment. The specific learning occurs at a specific time in specific conditions, with specific people.


But actually almost NO other learning occurs this way. You want your driver’s licence, let's do it because we have a need, a willing teacher, some time together and a motivation to be independent. The learning occurs naturally, individually and JUST IN TIME. We avoid JUST IN CASE learning, which is “you might need to know about quadratics in the future…” (You might not, almost nobody used quadratics – except maths teachers).


Learning is not necessarily about utility, it is about self-reflection. It is actually pointless to enjoy the sunset, yet we do it. Quadratics might not be useful, but they are beautiful, and importantly show the workings of the human mind – as something that loves order, harmony, balance, patterns, relationships and predictions.


Time sensitive learning ignores individual diurnal rhythms, individual relationships, prior experiences, recent surrounding events, patterns of understanding and motivation. The student can learn just as effectively, even more so, at 10pm at night, when (finally) the adults have toddled off, and the teens have the world to themselves. Will they? Often yes, but not if you timetable it. It is the choice to learn that is so precious and which provides the motivation. I won’t do it if you tell me to (Even If I want to!). Often students report that they would rather fail in their own way, than succeed in the adult way.


I will do it in my way. Help me to do it myself.

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