Learning by Doing. Mondragon and Team Academy.

Last week I had an extraordinary learning session with one of the teams of Team Academy that came from Mondragon to San Francisco.

This learning session was an extraordinary experience because it helped me interiorize what I thought I knew but I hadn’t really assimilated: that students learn much FASTER and with a DEEPER level of understanding COLLABORATING than with the traditional education environment, where there is one teacher lecturing the students.

When I met with the EGO team, all of them welcomed me warmly looking at my eyes and often smiling. They introduced themselves mentioning what was their role within the team. Even if it was their private group session, it seemed as if we had all the time of the world to get to know each other. They told me they wanted me to feel as if I was one more of the group. That was clear from the beginning.
I am not used to this kind of treatment [except maybe here at HubMasters :)]. Still, there is something humbling about the fact that a group of young students are able to welcome a new guest more deeply and more warmly than other groups of more “mature” people with more experience in real life.

That is an indication of high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence. And they are developiing these skills because they are collaborating many more hours than the average person, thanks to their education system.

But what is new about this system anyways?

Let me ask you some questions to see how the education system you went through compares with the education system of Team Academy.

When you were a student…

Were you always learning from your peers or were you learning from a teacher?

Were you eager to learn because you wanted to teach your co-students what you had learned or were you anxious before an exam because of fear to fail it?

Were you able to learn what you really wanted to learn or did you have to take classes you did not care about, at all!, because you needed some credits?

Were you always practicing with your hans on an project you were deeply passionate about or did you have to study theory non-stop?
[Note: I know here in the US the education system is more practical. However, in most of Europe the education is 90% theoretical. Yes, it sucks...]

Were you traveling once a year to develop projects in a different country or you never traveled, unless you wanted to have time off from your studies?

Were you creating companies that could give you income to support your life style or were you just developing projects that nobody used ever?

If you answered all questions with the second option, welcome you are on my team. If you answered with the first option, you are with the Team Academy.

After having the privilege to met the EGO Team of Team Academy I can say one thing, the traditional education system I experienced is completely BROKEN and is harming millions of students all around the world.

Most of us learn by doing and collaborating, and that is what the students of Team Academy at Mondragon are all about.

The way we organize ourselves has a lot to say about our values. Lets make the students the center of attention instead of putting all the attention of the students in a single teacher. Lets stop mystifying the power of one single teacher to spread knowledge to so many pupils and lets empower students to find knowledge there where it is available. Nowadays that is everywhere!

To master something, you have to learn how to teach it. Because of that, at this moment, I am the one that is really learning and interiorizing these concepts, not you. You are just being exposed to new concepts. But to really master these concepts you’d have to experience this education system by yourself.

Let’s give students the opportunity to teach themselves. Let’s give them the opportunity to master a skill they enjoy to do and they are truly passionate about.