"Knowledge and action are the central relations between mind and world. In action, world is adapted to mind. In knowledge, mind is adapted to world."
- Timothy Williamson
The history of education has basically been one of adapting the mind to the world - imparting knowledge about what is. This works. It is powerful and explains a great deal of why our world is vastly different from that of medieval peasants.
The model of learning and work now is to first learn about the world and then to go work in it. You graduate from high school or college and then get a job. In school, we learn what is. In work, we attempt to change it to what could be. Learning and action are sequential.
But of course this is not how it works. Most of what we know comes from what we have done. This effectively means that great potential for learning in the early years is wasted because of a lack of action.
What if the line between learning and work were not so clear? What if even in school, students were expected to take action, to adapt the world to mind?
This suggests the possibility of students beginning to take action on their world early on. First graders might raise a garden. 12th graders might build homeless shelters. Sophomores in college might re-design or build bike paths to encourage healthier commuting.
By blurring the boundary between action and knowledge - by making the adaptation of mind and world iterative rather than sequential - would both be enhanced. Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about the modern world is how powerless so many people feel to change things, to change their world as they experience it. How different could it be if from the very beginning, students felt able to take action, to make change?