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.

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

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Benjamin Freud, Ph.D.

Benjamin Freud, Ph.D. is the co-founder of Coconut Thinking, an advisory that supports schools and learning organizations to co-create, co-develop, co-stress test, and co-implement ideas that nurture the conditions for emergent learning. Benjamin is also the Head of Upper School at Green School, Bali. He was previously the Whole School Leader of Learning and Teaching at Prem Tinsulanonda International School in Thailand. He was the Academic Coordinator at Misk Schools, one of 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, Thailand, and now Bali, Indonesia. 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 entrepreneurship.