Schools are necessary tools for community indoctrination. They attempt to pass on the formal rules of the culture, and modify a little the culture of the family. The curriculum is designed to include all the "important" ideas and skills we expect students to know. Teaching is vitally important profession. Teaching practice and teaching theory have been on a long journey from the pre-industrial training (monks), via industrial training (The typing pool, and accounting clerks.) towards 21st Century values and needs. Educational research in New Zealand showed conclusively that what teachers think they are teaching and what students are learning are only loosely related. We don't understand what we are doing in schools. I don't intend to further discuss schools here.
Education is a different thing. Most education doesn't happen in schools. People learn when they actively engage in doing things. This truth is suggested in the graph on the right. Education is the discovery of new knowledge which one can incorporate into one's existing knowledge. Education is very dependent on the learning activity of individuals and the groups those individuals belong too.
People learn when they are motivated by dissonance, knowledge that there is conflict between ideas and a lack of information or skill. This can arise from a question that develops in your own mind, but it's much more likely to arise from a discussion with people you know and respect, and in the context of trying to do something useful. My interest is about how we can best use our life experience to enhance our learning.
The active learning model to the right suggests the importance of the things the learner is doing and thinking.
2012: Today with the Internet and online social networks, it's possible to find peer groups, communities of practice, or communities of interest, on virtually any topic. As a leader in four such groups, my role is to be the moderator and coach. That is the task of the modern teacher.