Posted in Why Unlearn?

Why we NEED to Unlearn


Why we NEED to Unlearn

At the beginning of each of my courses I go through a Presentation that I have created to show my students the inquiry process (which we use throughout the course) and to explain WHY we will do things a little different in my class.  I think it is extremely important to explain this to them and to their parents so that they will be on board.  It is often the beginning of many students unlearning process.  I use the Social Scientific Method to do this, so in the next few posts I thought I would go through each step to showcase all the people that have influenced my unlearning process.

Problem:  There is a problem with our current education system, it is not preparing our students for the world that they will be living in.  We are not giving them the skills that they need to be successful.   It is archaic and we ultimately need to wipe the slate clean and start over.  Below are the articles and people that I refer to in my presentation to explain the WHY we need to unlearn.

Forbes magazine Jan. 6, 2017 – Our current system is not preparing our students for the business world of today.

Top employers say millennials need these 4 skills in 2017


  • Looking for workers capable of concentrating.
  • Looking for those who have time management skills and follow through.

More than College

  • Bachelor’s degree may now be less important in part because they’re less rare.
  • Education system has prepared students for academia, memorizing, position writing and the sciences but not the business world.
  • Looking for someone who is still willing to learn after they graduate college, so having a degree has been pushed down the list on the criterion.


  • Is not getting stumped at an early stage – moves onto Plan B and Plan C to solve a problem.
  • Looking for people who are willing to stick it out when there is a problem rather than moving on.
  • We want to know if they have GRIT, have the been told NO but still continued?  Have they failed but kept going?


  • Not taking yourself too seriously, admitting when you don’t know stuff and asking for help when you need it are some of the most advanced skills of all.
  • People who think they know everything are not trainable, nor good collaborators.

According to CBC Doc Zone Generation Jobless Millennials need to learn:

  • The reality of the job market is that by the time the avg person turns 30 year old they will have between 200 – 300 projects.  
  • Our society is becoming a project based society.
  • Employers are looking for young adults that have different degrees but are intersected with TECHNOLOGY.
  • Canadian millennials need to become more creative in creating their own jobs.

Sir Ken Robinson – Our current system Kills all Creativity

As I watched and listened to the TED Talk “Do Schools Kill Creativity” all I could do is sit and say to myself YES, over and over again.  Sir Ken Robinson outlines the issues with our current system in this talk and ultimately proves in my opinion that our current system is outdated and that we ARE killing all creativity and love for learning by testing our students to death!!

Alan November – Our current system does not allow students to own their learning, and do things that have purpose.

I was very fortunate to be introduced to Alan November in my Integrating Computer Technology Part 1 at Queen’s University.  There are a few things that really stuck with me after listening to him talk and reading his book, “Who Owns the Learning?”.  He suggests that we need to prepare our students for the Digital World – rather than using a computer or as he calls it the “$2000 pencil” as a word processor, we need students to be learning about how to use the programs that are out there, learn to use google properly and to use their critical thinking skills in their research.  We need to prepare our students for the global world that we are living in.  Finally, I think the biggest thing that I have adopted in my teaching is his suggestion that students need to have purposeful work.  “At the heart of all the stories is the key concept that students will work harder to achieve a purpose then they will for a grade.” (pg 4 -5)

Dr. Carol Dweck – We all need to understand that if we have a Growth Mindset we can do anything!!

Because of my experience in school, I vowed that I would do everything in my power to help students see that each and everyone of us can do anything we want and that we are all talented and smart in some way.  Our current system with streaming and grades do not allow for this to happen for all students.  Dr. Carol Dweck’s work on instilling a Growth Mindset in our students really validated my thoughts.  If you haven’t listened to her TED Talk it is a MUST for all educators.
Peter Gamwell – Our current system is not preparing students for an age of complexity.

I met Peter around the same time that I was introduced to Sir Ken Robinson’s ideas.  Peter was a Superintendent for the OCDSB where I work and I was lucky enough to attend a conference that he created called Lead the Way.  Little did I know that in about 10 years I would invite him to a function at our school and he would become one of my biggest supporters and I one of his.  Peter suggests that creativity exists when we recognize that there is a seed of brilliance in everyone.  Peter has recently wrote an amazing book called the Wonder Wall – it is a must read for all educators and business owners who want to foster creativity within their classrooms and organizations.

There are many other amazing people that have inspired me to Unlearn, but these are the ones that initially helped validate everything that I was feeling about our current system.

Next Post – HOW to unlearn and those who influenced me to do that.

Thanks for being a part of our unlearning journey.



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