The QI equation for an enriched IQ

The Times online has this  intriguing article by Tom Hodgkinson, editor of the Idler (orginally featured in the Sunday Times, 11 May.)  ‘The quirky methods behind TV’s QI quiz show could lead to a revolution in how we learn…’

It’s good to see some common sense coming into our deliberations about education and schooling. Hodgkinson ends his article referring to the QI edition of The Idler, where Lloyd and Mitchinson present a five-point manifesto for educational reform.

One: play not work

Schools should be resource centres, not prisons. Teachers should be returned to their original roles as facili-tators, not bureaucrats or drillmasters. The more “work” resembles play – telling stories, making things – the more interested kids will become.

Two: follow the chain of curiosity

Ask a kid what he wants to learn, and he’s unlikely to say: “a broad-based curriculum that offers the core skills”. Real learning is obsessive. It happens through watching, listening and practising something that really interests you. Encourage children to follow their own curiosity right to the end of the chain, and they will acquire the skills they need to get there.

Three: you decide

The QI School isn’t compulsory and there are no exams: only projects or goals you set yourself with the teacher acting as a mentor. This could be making a film or building a chair. From age seven onwards, our core subjects might be: philosophy, storytelling, music, technology, nature and games.

Four: no theory without practice

If you’re lost in wonder looking at, say, a lettuce, you will want to have a go at growing it, too.

Five: you never leave

There is no reason why school has to stop dead at 17 or 18. The QI school would be the ultimate “lifelong learning” venue – a mini-university where skills and knowledge would be pooled and young and old could indulge their curiosity.

Now these proposals are certainly in  tune with our PEN perspective and would provide a better foundation than the RSA deliberations in the post below.

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