The Butterfly Who Denied Ever Being a Caterpillar: A Modern Day Educational Fable

3-Star learning experiences

Paul A. Kirschner & Mirjam Neelen

Did you hear the story about the butterfly who denied ever being a caterpillar? Well, there was once a beautiful, well-developed butterfly who refused to accept that he once was a caterpillar and that going through the stages from pupa to caterpillar to beautiful butterfly was responsible for his current state…

Almost weekly, we encounter (or are asked to comment on) some new, modern, progressive, child friendly, innovative approach to education. Usually, advocates for these approaches have a strong distaste for knowledge acquisition, fact learning, memorisation, and practising skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, spelling, handwriting or writing essays (Who needs all of these things in real life? We have pocket computers for this, and, who writes essays these days?). They find these things to be old-fashioned, demotivating, and extremely mind-numbing. They believe in the child’s own initiative to drive learning as they perceive…

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