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When we look at the things that each of us has learned most deeply in our lives, the same certain conditions almost always apply: Among other things, we had an interest and a passion for the topic, we had a real, authentic purpose in learning it, we had agency and choice, deciding what, when, where, and with whom we learned it, and we had fun learning it even if some of it was ‘hard fun.’

– Will Richardson

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There is not much more to say. When did you learn something that was quite difficult? What were the conditions under which you learned it – was it forced on you or did you want to learn? Did it matter to you? Was there a reason to learn it? In other words, did you have agency, choice and an authentic purpose for learning? This, more than any imposed requirement, leads to the deepest learning. Once we have acquired the basic reading, writing and math skills, it is then up to us to determine what we want to learn and how we will learn it. This is the work of schools and education.