Can we separate form from function in education?

I’m currently reading “The Learning Paradox” by Jim Harris.  It is a book written for the business world, but a large part of his message can be transferred to our world of education, leading and learning.  He writes that the learning paradox is that in order to change, people must become comfortable with the discomfort of learning, yet people fear discomfort and generally wish to avoid it, hence the paradox.  You must do what you are afraid of if you want to learn. 

One of his messages is in order to be successful, leaders must separate form from function, and he uses the paradigm shift in the banking world to illustrate this.  The paradigm shift came from the introduction of on-line banking.  Banking institutions that did not envision or embrace on-line banking were racing to catch up to those that did. Banking is essential, he writes, but banks are not.

Can we make this same separation in education:  Schooling is essential, but schools are not?  Within the context of today’s technology and  the technology that is coming, can we effectively teach students outside the physical form of a school building?  How does that redefine the relationship between teacher and student within the context of the content?  How does that redefine to role of a school leader?

Curious as to your thoughts.

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