“Lernen lernen”: A case study and feature length documentary about learning

Sophie Huber-Lachner, having joined the researchers community of The Institute only recently, tells about her movie project:

This is 2019: cellphones allow us to download any information at any minute, to learn whatever we want to learn. At the same time, old-school and ex-cathedra teaching is still commonplace.
So what do we want our children to learn? How to prepare them for the future? For a world ever more complex? For societal problems to be solved with future thinking?
I am closely looking at a school that isn’t a school, but a co-learning space: at the “Markhof” in Vienna, there are no teachers and no grades. The 45 kids – from 5 to 16 years old –  are so called “Freilerner”. Unlike “home-schooled” children, they study in a big group and in a very special surroundings: the Markhof is also home to a co-working space, a food coop and other spaces to use cooperatively.
The idea is not only to allow the kids to learn in a self-determined way and in an atmosphere that is free of fear, but to also integrate schooling back into life: where people work and accomplish their daily routines.
Once a year, though, the kids have to prepare for the so called “Externisten-Prüfung”, an exam Austrian children have to take when they don’t go to a regular school. That’s when the idea of “free learning” is most under stress. And that’s when the film sets in, asking critically: can the Markhof be a role model for future learning?


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