Off Topic #2 Joy M.

Having made a comment to Joy Meeker that may seem off topic to her week 2 Potcert blog, I thought to do some thinking here. And really go off topic.

The challenge:

“This is my challenge, and I’m up for working on it. I’m curious about how to enliven my own passion for teaching and critical, creative dialogue while also tapping into students’ passion for learning.”

My thinking is that in spite of the instructor’s desire to transfer passion and love of the topic, there might be barriers to the student in terms of the structure of the educational system. Not only the silencing factor built into an organizational model that struggles (when it bothers to) with “knowing” the student filtered through a maze of regulations, abstract theories, social expectations and on and on. How can anything beyond an inaccurate estimation of the human reside in this environment.

To be fair, I was never a proper student. Living near a university full of M.Ed’s allowed me to be exposed to many “new” ideas on how to do what was presumed to work with some new minor twist. (Did it ever occur to anyone that assuming one system “worked” when there were no other systems in town is bad science. Or that it might have been held together by declaring misfits “failures” rather than question the system itself?).

I suggest the environment isn’t conducive to passion. Not that it kills passion for learning only that for many the effort to learn how to do school takes the edge off. The process is wrong.

Ask a question of someone that they know you know the answer to then add consequences on the assumption that this will indicate learning and all you’ve done is created a reward system for preferred behaviour. Not a learning system. Not a method of engaging interest.

So I’m interested in answers to why, for me, education became interesting AFTER school was over and I’ll start with posting as the beginning of a messy process.

Found this today while searching with the word “participation” in a book I’m reading the second edition of. It is also on the net free in the first edition as listed below:


Ownership of the Inquiry

The students must be given and must assume ownership for the dilemma and the development of a resolution. That is, they must see it as a real dilemma worth investing their efforts in, and they must see their efforts as geared toward a solution that make s a difference (not a school solution). Furthermore, students must feel they are responsible for the solution. If they seek a solution from the teacher or a solution the teacher wants, they will not be engaged in the sorts of thinking in the domain that they would be engaged in outside of schools… (p 32)

More later.


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  • jaapsoft2  On October 9, 2013 at 2:19 PM

    This is an interesting topic.
    Assessment is a barrier to learning. But can schools without assessment?
    School often kills curiosity, very young children do love learning. Somewhere most students lost this love.

    • scottx5  On October 9, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      What to do with assessment is a difficult question. Some things we need to learn can’t be “known” by each individuals interpretation. Proof of understanding sometimes needs to demonstrate the ability to tell it exactly as it was learned. Chemistry, genetics and etc. Have to think about that.

      Maybe school doesn’t kill curiosity but acts to replace imagination with knowledge? We want children to stop “pretending” and grow up so we replace their self-constructed personal pretend world with our institutional pretend world or rigid abstract symbols of the educational world. It’s like destroying a living culture by refusing to acknowledge or permit use of the language of it native speakers. Not sure about this but think manipulation of natural imagination is the key to explaining a lot of our problems.

      Very cool that the book is available online and hope you enjoy it. I learn most things from books. Thanks for the visit.

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