July 02, 2005

Is Your Child Learning What He/She Needs to Know? :: AO

Recently I posted about the stifling of critical and analytical thinking skills in Japanese education, and the possibility that students raised in such a system could nevertheless develop these skills once they were taken out of that environment. Aaron commented that perhaps blogging (or Internet-based Education) might be able to provide a different environment of the right kind. I agree it has strong possibilities.
Well, today, I just read this, and while I haven't yet read the whole thing, this part of it caught my eye:
incremental reform at the margins [of education] isn't enough: what is necessary is complete systemic overhaul.
And that's NOT the disintermediation of the teacher through technology. Rather, it's the liberation of the teacher from lecturing, grading, and paperwork to enable him/her to interact on a 1:1 basis with a student to promote learning at the student's own pace.

It's our belief that eLearning transforms the teacher into a Socratic tutor, who can help propel students to mastery of whatever the teacher and society deems is the appropriate curriculum.

There is something there, although I'm a little doubtful about "whatever the...society deems is the appropriate curriculum". This smacks of the same-old, same-old; the top-down, "we know what's good for you" approach, whereas one of the characteristics of the new social-networking softwares is that it gives consumers a voice.

As Aaron, pointed out, giving "consumers" (students) a voice is not easy; often they refuse to use it. However, that could be indicative of how ingrained their voicelessness really is. As Augusto Boal has pointed out, there are forms of oppression which are brutal and overt, and there are other forms which are less obvious, more insidious; in the former, the oppressed have no difficulty identifying their oppressors; in the latter, the oppressed may even deny that they are oppressed (this led Boal to a theater-therapy technique he called Cops in the Head)

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