Hit TV show Modern Family illustrates the importance and benefit of learning from the extended family
As the hit American mockumentary, Modern Family won the Emmy for outstanding comedy for the fourth consecutive year on Sunday (Sept 22), I reflected on the parallels between the extended family in which the youngest generation of that sitcom are growing up and the extended family of learners that we foster at Coracle.
The children growing up within the traditional nuclear Dunphy family would gain a very limited and narrow-minded view of the world if their experiences and role models were ringfenced by what they encountered growing up solely within their own home. Widen the circle a fraction to include their extended family and they gain an understanding of and respect for intergenerational marriage, interracial adoption and same-sex relationships to name but a few. As for the adults in the programme, they are constantly learning from one another and from the lessons taught by their children.
_"Learning would be exceedingly laborious, not to mention hazardous, if people had to rely solely on the effects of their own actions to inform them what to do. Fortunately, most human behavior is learned observationally through modeling: from observing others one forms an idea of how new behaviors are performed, and on later occasions this coded information serves as a guide for action."
- Albert Bandura, Social Learning Theory, 1977
A study carried out by Zuhrieh Shana at the Ajman University of Science and Technology, UAE in 2009 into the effects of online forums on a group of students discovered that the students accessing the forums had a more positive experience than those in the control group. It was discovered that the students felt empowered by being involved in student-to-student discussions that extended beyond the classroom discussions. They took an active role in both the teaching and learning of information.
At Coracle, we are passionate believers in active learning and promoting the engagement of individual students. Individuals tend to be driven initially by a need for self-improvement and a desire to upskill themselves. However, what starts out as a personal and singular path inevitably leads into a social learning experience. After all, although one could learn solely from one teacher and a handful of books, by embracing the networks available online, one is able to access a wider range of opinions and ideas and to benefit from the tried and tested experiences of others. By actively engaging in Coracle’s Learning Line students take charge of their own learning journey and reinforce their education by learning from and teaching each other, just as the characters in Modern Family benefit from a life enriched by their extended relationships.