What do you want to make, do, or learn? A conversation with Rob Houben | Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

April 15, 2022

In this episode, I speak with Rob Houben, from the Agora School, in the Netherlands. Agora is a school without using timetables, courses, or age groups. They teach students to manage their own learning process, starting each day with a simple question: What do you want to make, do or learn? This is a network of 20 schools that gives children “the opportunity to play, because when children are playing, they get interested.” In this conversation, Rob and I discuss:

  • How it’s not about learner-centered, it’s about growth;
  • How you can design learning experiences based on what kids need and are interested in in that moment, not what the “curriculum” tells them;
  • Liberation as culture-building for deeper learning.

You can find out more about Agora in this article.

Check us out on www.coconut-thinking.design, where you’ll find our articles, presentations, and resources. Get in touch!

You can also find our articles and those of some fantastic thinkers and doers in education on Intrepid Ed News: www.intrepidednews.com

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, which creates learning and action experiences where all learners have a common purpose; positive impact on the welfare of the bio-collective — any living thing, sentient or plant, that has an interest in the healthfulness of the planet. Benjamin also works as the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at an International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, which, as the school of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is the most prestigious and high profile school in the kingdom. In 2018-2019, he was also the Head of Upper Primary and Middle School at Misk. Prior to this, he was Vice Principal of the Middle School and High School at the Harbour School in Hong Kong. He holds a Ph.D. in History, an MSc in Education, an MBA, an MA in International Relations, and a BA in International Affairs. Benjamin was born and grew up in Paris, France. He moved to the U.S. when he was 15 and spent 11 years there in different cities, before living in the U.K., Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, and now Thailand. He started his career in consulting for Internet start-ups in Silicon Valley in the late 1990s, working with people whose ambitions were no less than to change the world. This experience had a profound effect on Benjamin’s outlook on education, innovation, and entrepreneurialism.

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