7 Fundamentals for Schools: The Agrarian Learning Model

By: Admin 10 May, 2017

Every school wants the best for its students. In that effort of becoming the best, the competition has grown into another level. The underlying assumption of any curriculum is that it is worthy of study, and the underlying assumption of school is that it is good for students, and if they ‘do well at it’, they will have the ‘best chance for success’ in life.


Schools only fail relative to a goal; if we changed the goal, it changes the nature of any failure. Not if we stopped wanting the best for children, but rather if designed a learning model that couldn’t fail by design because its goal was enduring quality based on place, limits, scale, affections, sustainability, adaptivity, and patience.


Below are 7 Fundamentals for Designing the Perfect School.


  1. Place

Every farmer works not a farm, but ‘their’ farm.

The Agrarian Learning Model is not concerned with students, but this student in this place with these unique knowledge demands. A learning model designed well with a specific student and place in mind cannot fail. If it does fail, there is a failure in design or a blindness to the place and student.


  1. Limits

The soil must remain healthy and so be properly used or the farm will fail. In the short-term, chemicals, fertilizers, etc. may be used, but the farmer the soil and is always aware of its limits and potential mistreatment.

A learning model created according to the natural limitations of its own bits and pieces can’t fail, or the design exceeded some/all limitations.

  1. Scale

No one would ever plant a garden so large that they couldn’t tend to and cultivate its crop. In the Agrarian Learning Model, the scope, size, and function of curriculum, schools and knowledge are designed with individuals in mind.

A model for learning, which is created keeping an appropriate scale in mind can become successful.


  1. Intimacy

A learning experience designed through intimacy and affection could not ‘fail’ or the intimacy wasn’t affectionate.

This also depends on the previous factor, scale. A gardener could tend to his or her plants, notice problems like insects, etc. because the scale was such that he could.

In the same manner, students in a class are not just ‘students’. For a teacher, they should be individuals, who matter. When you know about a child personally, and have watched them grow, you’ll know their needs which ultimately helps in better learning.


  1. Patience

As the farmer has goals for his land, the school has goals for the students. In the Agrarian Learning Model, schools are patient. But more critically, students feel patience and can demonstrate it with and among themselves. Patience yields opportunity for the playful interactions between student and ideas–and one another, where creativity can be born and intellectual affection and curiosity can thrive.


  1. Sustainable

the farmer must return to the same farm and the same soil, and knows which seasons are coming and what variability exists within those seasons, there is very little that farmer would do that wouldn’t be sustainable.

Similarly, A learning model that is not sustainable by definition cannot be successful.

The tangible (e.g., teachers, students, technology, buildings) and intangible (e.g., enthusiasm, curiosity, budget, affections) bits of education were all designed and used so as to not deplete themselves, but grow inter-dependently.


  1. Flexibility

Just as the farmer must adapt to changing weather, crop demands, or local resources, in the Agrarian Learning Model everything would adapt to everything else–curriculum, local culture, student performance, schedule, student needs, technology, changing budgets, etc. If a learning model adapts to the learner’s ability and curiosity and knowledge demands and pace, how can it fail? It can’t.



This article is inspired by, and contains excerpts from Teach Thought’s website. Read the original article here.