Infinity School’s purpose is to provide an education which enables learners to engage with learning lifelong and lifewide. Channelling Freire, Rogoff and Basker such a capacity can be viewed as Liberated Learning as learners become the owners of their own infinite Education. To achieve this state of being the Infinity School will provide a distinctive form of education which will engineer and facilitate cooperative and collaborative learning processes activated through a Collaborative Group Learning Pedagogy. Pedagogic features such as group composition, activity structure, learner role and the educators role within the learning process will be applied to activate desired socialised-learning processes.
The continuum, designed by the founders of Infinity School following almost a decade of theoretical and empirical research practice, recognises the role of established learning theories in shaping pedagogic features and processes across a continuum of associated learning processes. These processes and the pedagogic practices sitting within a Collaborative Group Learning Pedagogy have and continue to be tried and tested in a number of contexts by the founders of Infinity School.
We believe that for many their experiences of an education are shaped by Behaviourist and Constructivist theories of learning and teaching. An Egocentric Learning Process is facilitated, engineered by an isolated and passive learners actions being directed and dominated by an assigned educator. As a learner moves through an education they are likely to experience in addition to the Egocentric a Group Work and Group Learning Process. Within this later and most prevalent form of learning the individual experiences learning as a group physically rather than cognitively. This process sees an individual as a part of a pedagogic practice which groups learners together homogeneously (streamed or setted groups of ability or gender), which encourages learners to become dependant upon one or each other and upon the educator as the educator leads the learning through structured activities. Such activities tend to structure learning in a manner which holds opportunities back from learners granting them access to choice as and when the teacher deems they are ‘capable’ or at worst ‘worthy’. Through this pedagogic model learners tend to become performance rather than learning oriented, dependent rather than independent learners and often unable to apply knowledge, understanding and skills beyond subject bound contexts. What this mode of learning also fails to actively facilitate is the development of attributes and capacities central to lifelong-lifewide learning; one can not be collaborative if they have never experienced collaboration or a leader if they have never experienced leadership.
Infinity School basis its approach to the process and pedagogy of learning on the penultimate stages of the socialised-learning continuum, stages shaped by a social constructivist approach to teaching and learning. The processes of Cooperative Group and Collaborative Group Learning enable students to move beyond learning as a group, through learning with and learning because of the group towards Liberated Learning. Through an application of a Collaborative Group Learning Pedagogy the two processes of cooperative and collaborative learning are enacted. The learner, as a member of a heterogeneous group learns with and because of those around them. Activities move from being loosely structured by the teacher with elements of choice and access towards becoming learner directed activities recognising a learner’s agency and capacity to choose their own course through their Education. Learners develop interdependence, a capacity to seek out support from others and by doing so become increasingly independent as learners, understanding when, whom and where to turn to for assistance; vital for lifelong-lifewide learning. In an application of this pedagogy the educator adopts the dual role of facilitator and resource. The educator uses their expertise to facilitate and engineer educative opportunities and offer themselves up as an ‘expert’ resource to aid the individual’s development as a liberated learner.
A bi-directional relationship exists between the Cooperative Group Learning Process and the Collaborative Group Learning Process as learning through cooperation enables a movement into learning through collaboration, but at times, attempts to learn through collaboration may ‘fail’ and slip back to a state of cooperation. Indeed this is expected during the years of an education where we would see individuals learning to learn collaboratively, exercising the skills of and partaking in the process of collaboration. An important role is to be played by the educator here, especially around issues of learning direction and its associated power status.
Infinity School will develop further the work already undertaken in the field of socialised-learning, applying a Collaborative Group Learning Pedagogy which adheres to the principles and processes displayed within the continuum.