Marshall McLuhan Long Ago Insisted That Kids Learn More Outside of School Than Within It


“… as teachers we have to recognize that education is no longer a monopoly of the classroom and that the young are learning as much outside as inside the classroom. Moreover, we ourselves have to face new facts and new media which are as novel for us as for our students. We have, as never before, to shape the learning process with them.” – New Media in Arts Education (1956)

“… for the first time in human history, there is more information and data outside the classroom or the school situation than inside. The sheer amount… of information outside in the environment far exceed[s] the amount of data and information inside the classroom. This is not just of very recent origin. It’s occurring more and more rapidly and on a much bigger and bigger scale.” – The Medium is the Massage (1966). Published lecture in Understanding Me: Lectures and Interviews (2003), p. 89

We have to realize that more instruction is going on outside the classroom, many times more every minute of the day than goes on inside the classroom. That is, the amount of information that is embedded in young minds per minute outside the classroom far exceeds anything that happens inside the classroom in just quantitative terms now.” McLuhan, M. (1966, April). Electronics & the psychic drop-out. THIS Magazine is about SCHOOLS. p. 38

“In the future basic skills will no longer be taught in classrooms.” ditto, p.38

In some places this is now being recognized and implemented in new initiatives:-

Where Kids Learn More Outside Their Classrooms Than in Them

In New Hampshire, work experience plus academic skills equals course credit.
Emily Richmond, April 12, 2015

PITTSFIELD, N.H.—It’s time for the morning meeting at Pittsfield Elementary School, and several kindergartners jostle for a spot on the carpet next to 16-year-old Anitrea Provencher, who is helping out in their classroom this semester.

As the students settle into a circle, their teacher, Lenore Coombs, starts off the day’s discussion with a question: What’s something you’ve never done beforethat you would like to try? That’s something Provencher—a sophomore at the neighboring Pittsfield Middle High School—is actively trying to answer for herself as part of a program that awards students academic course credit for engaging in learning experiences outside of the traditional classroom setting. “I’m figuring out where I do fit and where I don’t fit,” said Provencher, who hopes to follow up the kindergarten internship with one in marine biology. “I haven’t really liked school for a long time. This is better for me than regular high school.”

Amid the growing push to reinvent the nation’s public high schools, initiatives that connect students more directly to their individual interests—and tap into their innate motivations—are gaining popularity. New Hampshire is one of a handful of states at the forefront of efforts to promote flexibility in how students learn and how that knowledge is measured. While initiatives like these are relatively small in scale, educators and policymakers say they provide important testing grounds for innovations in school improvement.

“I don’t do well on tests. I prefer a project where I can take my time.”

In New Hampshire, what are known as “extended learning opportunities” can take the form of workplace internships, volunteer work, individualized study, or one-on-one instruction.Students earn credit in English-language arts provided their plan meets academic standards as outlined by the New Hampshire Department of Education. The learning opportunities must also be aligned to the Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, including New Hampshire. 

(Source: ) That’s what City as Classroom (1977) is essentially about.


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