April 07, 2005

Game of school part troix

Chris Lotte comments:
I would like to see people elevate their teaching past just the direct subject and into the realm of a) helping foster inquisitiveness and support students in becoming motivated, curious learners and b) embedding the acts in the classroom into the larger community of practice in even this often small and most introductory of ways...

Absolutely! Hear, hear. (And reading Chris' post below also helped me understand where he's coming from). The question I'm battling with is how to help foster inquisitiveness and independence and curiosity without depriving them of that very curiosity and autonomy I'm trying to foster? If my students have had a shool-lifetime of being told what to do and how to do it, what happens? How to combat that? It seems that patience is called for! The ability to wait, and also fortitude, not to get sucked back into the old "game": "OK, YOU want us to study, YOU set up the class and the institution, YOU say we have to be here, OK, so TEACH us! And we might cooperate if it's not too boring or too much trouble or requires us to get up too early (like for 9 o'clock class)".

I also liked this post by Chris:
needing to integrate social software into the curriculum from end-to-end

Wow! Now that's a goal! Go read Chris Lotte's blog. I love the random quotes that appear at the top. How does he do that? And whose quotes are they?

Update: Bud Gibson left a comment on Chris' post:
For universities, the change often comes from customer (student) demand.
Hm. I wonder if that is also true for Japanese unis?

Bud Gibson's complete comment is well worth reading. I especially liked these bits:
What about control? The traditional classroom is really quite top-down. Most faculty are not prepared for a change to bottom-up. Administrators will be the last on this train.
You need to find a way of innovating that goes around this obstacle. I suspect it is an externally hosted service that offers education as one part of the life cycle. Alternatively, I see a new type of academic institution that starts from scratch with low administrative overhead.

Hm... a new type of academic institution. Who says that academic institutions are the best places for learning to happen? Maybe academic institutions are essentially elitist, anti-democratic institutions? There is obviously a case for subjects that require large amounts of expensive equipment (science, engineering, medecine), but for learning a foreign language I'm starting to feel that a class of 25-30 Japanese young people who mostly do not know each other is one the least conducive environments.

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