Economics, education, art, #change11 Unshaven thoughts about education

In 1984 Gerrit van Bakel did a lecture at the Technical University Twente ‘Elements of an artificial landscape‘.

” … I think that in the hierarchy of knowledge and learning a change has taken place. Or that it is possible to detect one. My point of departure is that there was once a time when philosophy for instance was a sort of mother of all forms of knowledge, was the source where everything came from, all knowledge and learning. In my opinion this is in itself not mistaken. It is however at any rate true that this is no longer the case. The situation now is that economics, which in my opinion is not a science, but a way of thinking that admittedly employs scientific methods, plays a more decisive role than does one’s grasp of a subject or any other specific quality. …”

Connect this economical world view to education.
In an economic system goal-orrientednes and purposefulness is a basic believe. In an economic world people act to earn some profit.
In an economic system students and learning results are commodities.

“The labor theories of value are heterodox economic theories of value which argue that the value of a commodity is related to the labor needed to produce or obtain that commodity.” 

“Commodity fetishism denotes the mystification of human relations said to arise out of the growth of market trade, when social relationships between people are expressed as, mediated by and transformed into, objectified relationships between things (commodities and money).” 

Gardner Campbell argued that we are engaging in a factory model of student education, rather than one that reflects the complexity inherent in actual learning. In my favorite section, he uses analogies such as a daily pill box and cows feeding at a trough to convey his points. (Liza M. Lane).
Seen from this angle schools first are economic institutions.

In an nonprofit world people act because the act is rewarding in itself. An amateur loves to do or play or study and that is why he is doing it.

In those factories good teachers try to keep up humanity. Schools are closed systems. Teachers try to connect students to the real world outside, but that is not easy. Individuals are secondary to the system. The system is a safe haven for  student  who fit into the system, but when students do not fit in the system they are expelled. A MOOC is an open system. Students are autonomous and that is not safe at all.
Educational industry will copy MOOC and change it into part of the closed system.

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7 thoughts on “Economics, education, art, #change11 Unshaven thoughts about education

  1. hi Jaap, este fim de semana, eu pensei sobre escolas com paredes e cursos com paredes!
    por exemplo- um AVA delimitado sera sempre como paredes.
    As redes sociais são amplas e para uma boa aprendizagem sera sempre necessário deixar o ” aquário” ! e seguir o fluxo.
    Se um MOOC se tornar fechado não sera um MOOC

  2. “It is in the air” same thoughts in different people. We must Change education to open schools and connect students to real life.

  3. Is learning a predictable transaction? In a closed system where input never varies it’s easy to measure output and determine how much actually stuck between “teaching” and the close of the assessment. Variety of response seems to break some precious truth of closed systems–when you are clearly told to do something and your response is different you are considered “wrong” (or misguided).

    In order to close a transaction we learn from difference. Without difference there is nowhere that names itself learned. Just solved.

    Bet there is no limit to the variety of MOOCs that could be hosted for any purpose–collect them all!

  4. Hi Scott, like your comment. Learning is an open ‘transaction” with some unpredictable outcomes. Or must we say complicated?

  5. In a closed classroom, the unexpected leads us astray–like a train derailed on its way to a fixed destination. An open system need not be destination free to qualify as open. We don’t have to be swamped in chaos or irrelevant results to break free of the predictability most education seems to strive for. We just have to accept all answers as potentially useful. In economics, as you suggest, “wrong” answers when seen as commodities are judged defective. But really all they are is a less “efficient” ways to reach the answer, not by any means wrong.

    When my mechanic uses the word “complicated” it usually implies higher costs are on the way. If we weren’t bound in an economic relationship then complicated would be a signal to be ready for an interesting conversation. Unfortunately, “interesting” is an order of magnitude more expensive than complicated.

  6. yes!!! ” In a closed classroom, the unexpected leads us astray–like a train derailed on its way to a fixed destination.”

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