Sunday, 4 September 2005

Teaching vs Learning

OK maybe i've been reading too much - but got to study - Assignment 3 not far away. (Groan)
Some ideas from Etienne Wenger "Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning & Identity."

"A focus on teaching is not equivalent to a focus on learning. The two are not even mirror images. In an instructional context, such as a school classroom or a training session, the reification of learning (a focus on content) combined with institutional authority can easily create the impression that it is teaching that causes learning.... Instruction does not cause learning; it creates a context in which learning takes place, as do other contexts.
- Learning and teaching are not inherently linked. Much learning takes place without teaching, and indeed much teaching takes place without learning.
- To the extent that teaching and learning are linked in practice, the linkage is one not of cause and effect but of resources and negotiation
...Learning is an emergent ongoing process, which may use teaching as one of its many structuring resources"
Wenger contends that too much emphasis is put on pedagogical debate (eg transmission vs discovery learning) when at the heart of the matter is the ability of 'teaching' & 'learning' to interact around negotiated meaning and the structuring of resources for planned & emergent learning.
He discusses education as a tranformative process where the primary focus is on making meaning. He contends that students need places of engagement (activities with others, challenges & responsibilities, continuity to develop practices & commitment); materials and experiences with which to build an image of the world and themselves (developing our identity is important & can get lost in the institutionalised school); and ways of having an effect on the world and making their actions matter.
Phew - i think there's a quote below about an ounce of action being worth a ton of theory! I've been reading a ton of theory today... what can i do to take action??
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