Learning without being taught

I have long been an admirer of Victor Wooten’s bass playing, ever since my brother-in-law gave me a Bela Fleck and the Flecktones CD, many years ago. He’s a brilliant musician.

Last night as I was randomly searching through TED talks on YouTube, I noticed that he had done one entitled “Music as a Language.” I watched it and was completely enthralled.

Wooten points out that we learn language without being “taught,” and how he learned to play music by growing up in a music-rich environment. His focus in this talk is about learning to express the music that is within each of us, and I think his insights could easily apply to life and learning much more broadly.

The thought emerged for me: What would it be like if schools were organized based on this insight? In a way, that’s the philosophy of makerspaces and language immersion programs. What would it be like if we stopped making children learn, and started letting them learn instead?

Here’s a video of Wooten’s TED talk.