walking and learning

In a 2014 blog article Kate Bowles wrote a reply to Mike Caulfield about how we learn about environments by actively navigating through them, rather than simply by obtaining a personal copy of the content in them. In other words, learners learn by being given the time to become productively lost. Time spent going in circles is time well spent.

That article linked to the phrase "we make the road by walking". This is a concept that is helpful in thinking about the design of learning environments that foster curiosity and enable people to make their own paths through them rather than following those laid down by the intention of the designer.

The poem by Antonio Machado where the phrase "we make the road by walking" comes from, says "caminante, no hay camino, se hace el camino al andar". Though the title of the Freire/Horton book gives the translation as "we make the road by walking", an equally valid translation might be "walker, there is no path, the path is made by walking". The last line of the poem says "caminante no hay camino, sino estelas en el mar" or "walker there is no path, just wakes in the sea". The path is not permanent, it fades like a vapour trail...