Education Beyond Institutionalization: Learning Outside of the Formal Curriculum
Education is a concept that can be as limited or expansive as the mindset of the individual or group involved, seeks to realize. It is within the mindset of expansiveness that this presentation seeks to explore the concept of education outside of the formal, institutionalized curriculum—as well as how it relates to the formal curriculum. This exploration will begin by investigating the relevance of the topic. It will then consider a variety of meanings constructed around the concepts of formal education, informal education and non-formal education. The presentation will conclude by addressing the need to rethink the status of learning that emerges from outside the formal curriculum and discussing potential affects of a more expansive approach to envisioning education. This presentation is addressed to all learners, rather than to us in our role as teachers. By adopting a more expansive concept of education, learners themselves are able to surpass many of the limitations imposed by the institution of education. An expansive view of education incorporates an intentional focus on learning of our own accord. Learners cannot necessarily be enabled by teachers or the education system to do this, we must take the initiative upon ourselves to consider and develop our learning in spaces outside of the institution. We must then regard this learning as part of our practice as learners: students, educators or parents. Educators (both formal and informal) can support this process by empowering learners to see past the constraints imposed by the institution and by modeling an expanded learning mindset, but at the same time recognizing the limits of the institution—its structural inability to be all things to all people. Recognizing learning outside of the formal curriculum through personal inquiry is the best option for realizing intellectual diversity and personal fulfillment in education.
Keywords: Informal Learning, Curriculum, Intellectual Diversity
Dr Nicole Harper
Graduate Student, Curriculum Studies, Georgia Southern University