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Natural Born Learners

Our Incredible Capacity to Learn and How We Can Harness It
Length: 12 hrs and 52 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

Non-member price: $31.21

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Publisher's Summary

Learning is the soul of our species. From our first steps to our last words, we are what we learn. Our education predicts our earnings, our contentment, even how long we'll live. But for all its obvious importance, learning has lost touch with human progress. We live in an information age, work in a knowledge economy, yet our schools remain relics of an industrial era. No more. 

In Natural Born Learners, Alex Beard takes us on a dazzling tour of the future of learning to show how today we can - and must - do better. Combining expert insight, entertaining anecdote and intelligent research, Beard leads us from the crowded corridors of a South London comprehensive to the high-tech halls of Silicon Valley, through the exam factories of South Korea to the inclusive classrooms of Finland. 

Tackling everything from artificial intelligence to our growing understanding of the infant brain, and from the content of our character to the way classrooms are unwitting engines of extremism, Beard shows that we're on the cusp of a revolution - and that learning in the 21st century must change in order for us to access our better future selves. 

©2018 Alex Beard (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

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  • James
  • 14-09-2019

Startlingly Great.

Summarizes nicely many situations at the cutting edge of education systems both tech and human. Yet, the bulk of it also lays down an amazing panorama and vision of how the future might be. I also have the hardback for notes. Just very much a gem, this Audible version, since the narrator has a humorous, engaging voice, which suits the writer's wondrous style. I really thank myself for getting the Audible version - it helped me, as a parent and part-time educator to really digest so landmark & bell-weather developments and situations. I couldn't recommend it highly enough, too and - as did another reviewer - very much suggest reading it twice or at the very least pausing at sections to mull over its implications. I listened on 1.25 speed, but stopped to ponder on personal related experiences when the categoric nuggets of insight and wisdom (often) arose, so in the end it took me maybe 15-16 hours of my time to get through. Yet, that was worth every minute and almost every second of it.

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  • Josh
  • 25-07-2019

Full of content!!

This book has so much information and so many different examples and sources from a huge variety of educat systems! Very good and interesting read that displays many systems objectively with accounts from people involved with them, extracts from classes, and results.

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  • "natparnell"
  • 26-07-2019

A fascinating tour of the world’s most impactful education systems.

This books brings together the diverse education systems from around the world, making non-judgemental comment about the positive and negative impact each has on countries and communities. Many people read this book twice as it is such a useful compilation of what works and what effects this has. As an educator for 25 years I suddenly realised where different styles and snippets that are put forward as best practice have come from. The author makes the point, quite correctly, that there is no ‘silver bullet’ for learning; but that what matters are teachers who care. I cannot recommend this book enough.

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  • DMS
  • 16-02-2019

Amazing Book, should be mandatory reading

This book should be mandatory reading for any parent, teacher, pupil, politician and business man. Highly inspiring.

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  • J. Drew
  • 24-03-2020

How we could learn

This book begins with the philosophical Aristotle tale about the idea of people living in a cave who develop an understanding of their world through the limited experiences of a cave and how your world can expand through leaving the cave into the daylight and how our perceptions of reality and truth change beyond the limited understanding of shadows, fire and rock. This book that explains our understanding of education using a hierarchical model of learnt facts is similar to the model of the world seen in a cave and then looking at how we can change learning to becoming more in line with our modern world. This book fizzes with a wealth of ideas to support the notion that children are natural born learners who are inquisitive and want to explore the world. And learning begins from the very beginning and is an ongoing cycle. Then we go to school and the author plays with the famous quote that “man is born free and yet everywhere he lives his life in chains“ to “kids are born free, but everywhere they are in schools.“. However, our models of education are limited to another time, but we need to value our schools and teachers because we seem to give them little value at this time. This book rallies with the cry teachers are a very important part of our society and we need to value them as such. The book also wonderfully looks at new ways of teaching and is one of the best books on education I have ever read. Alex Beard goes around the world looking for different methods people are using that can be useful to all children. These include ideas such as building on teamwork, supporting well-being such as developing resilience and being aware of critical thinking and instead of just learning stuff, to understand how we think about learning and the world around us. At the end of the book Beard brings everything together with a number of beautifully observed observations and points including the following: – we need to be creative – we should develop teamwork – keep an open mind and develop tools for critical thinking rather than just accepting any piece of misinformation going on around us – Learning begins earlier than we think and we should foster that inquisitive nature that exists in all babies and young children – learning goes on forever – we need to use technology wisely and think about how we can develop our teachers to harness the natural born learning within all children (and adults). I wasn’t very good at school but I had begun to learn once I left and haven’t stopped. It’s a wonderful gift and we should value our teachers and schools and education as one of the most important things we can give as a gift to both our society, world, future and children. As it says in the book “‘A society that doesn’t love its teachers, doesn’t love its children.’ What kind of society would ever say it didn’t care about its kids? An excellent and recommended book to support learning from an author who is travelled the world looking at different institutions and come to some really interesting conclusions.