In my Polyunsaturated facts post I mentioned the concept of Just In Time learning, in which one only learns what one needs when it is specifically needed. Since then I came across this item in which the author interestingly discusses what he calls Just In Case education, referring to the approach in our schools of filling children up with knowledge ‘just in case’ they need it in later life.
Indeed ‘Just In Case’ is a way of life we are used to: “Eat up you lunch just in case you don’t manage to get any supper tonight”; “Buy some extra tins of soup just in case you can’t get to the shops again, or they run out”, etc.
While ‘Just In Case’ is indeed quite a good description of the rationale behind a lot of education provision, the more interesting question is how does the current model need to change to accommodate the world of information snacking?
For starters, we need a ‘must eat to survive’ course which provides everyone with the absolute essentials for life – how to read, write and do basic maths along with some basic communication and creative problem solving skills.
Then on to the main course – a ‘choose what you want and eat as much as you like’ tasty smorgasbord of interesting and unusual wider contextual knowledge and understanding of the way the world works – a general sense of language, geography, history, the science of the universe, logic and creativity, analysis and evaluation, the physical and psychological needs of ourselves and others, attitudes and values, order and chaos, risk and change, learning how to learn, etc. These are not so much pre-cooked stodgy school dinners, but more like delicious, tasty take-aways, individually chosen according to one’s tastes and dietary requirements and the needs of the local community.
And finally for dessert, the icing on the cake – a more in-depth study of a narrow range of ‘subjects’ that reveal the need for detail, accuracy and quality in life and the world of work.
Although this alternative curriculum is described here as a three course meal, there’s no need to consume them in that order or manner. Indeed there are many who suggest that six smaller meals a day is better than three large ones.
So there is no longer any ‘Just In Case’ learning here, but the foundation of a sensible diet that puts information snacking into context, and provides everyone with enough starting questions and potential sources of information to explore when the time comes.