Sterotypes

whatdoesschool Knowledge of today writes: ”
People are not being educated; they’re being tested for levels of obedience. School is about memorizing what you are told short term and repeating it. The bulk of how you are graded is by completing daily work. Obedience is, in fact, work force’s most important quality in a worker bee.”
Is this what xMOOC’s do to students? With video and quizes, medals or badges for compliance? Is a xMOOC student just learning what someone else wants them to learn?
At the other end of the spectre we find student autonomy.
But what of the expectations of the student? If we look outside the context of the classroom, we find that learning happens whenever it can, in whatever order is necessary, in response to real performative needs. … The promise of MOOCs lies not in what the format lets us do, but in what the format lets us question: Where does learning happen?
What is the right way of organizing education?

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4 thoughts on “Sterotypes

  1. For me, school was all the things written on the poster above but I think many of those statements are no longer true. Schools are different in different districts and teachers are individuals who, in my experience, don’t follow orders very well and would throw out at least of the 5 nasty things they are asked to do on that list. It might be that those who think in terms of schools being behaviour modification camps will be rewarded by schools seeming that way but that would involve accepting the 5 statements as true without further investigation and are then victims of their own lack of critical thinking:-)

    As you say, learning happens all the time and most people don’t rely on one source. That makes school only one influence among many and maybe not the most important one for every individual. There’s a term for these generalizations I read once: “naive realism” which leads to a kind of standstill robbing the thinker of the ability to imagine beyond helplessness. The statements sound sophisticated and worldly but take one’s power away.

    In the book Developing Critical Thinkers, author Stephen Brookfield talks about developing alternative ways of thinking and refers to called “The Skilled Helper: A systematic Approach to Effective Helping. by G. Egan 1986. The idea is to help people develop their own preferred scenarios by asking questions like:

    What would this problem look like if it were managed better?
    What patterns of behaviour would be in place to help me avoid getting stuck in negatives?
    What accomplishments would be in place that are not now there?

    School could also be a place where cares and imaginings that hold us back can become topics of study in order to shake them off. Places where a person could become more in control, not less.

  2. Both sides push things to the edge without regard for the ability of people to think for themselves. We’ve moved from a socialist political area on the coast to live in the most conservative province in Canada. We find ourselves in disagreement over politics with our neighbours but I think much of the “control” over people’s minds comes from themselves engaging in lazy thinking or just habit. My sense is most interactions we know people by are at the surface and deeper down, people are more sensible than they are credited with.

    Maybe the big question of influence is based on the mistaken notion that what someone is told to think is actually what they do think? Social politeness and being agreeable are not necessarily accurate measures of how thinking works when there are serious consequences or important decisions to make. I remember reading somewhere that teaching requires the learner to be in a “learning frame of mind” which I take to be different than simple passive observation.

    Our whole model of attention seems to be directed to the unengaged viewing level. Are we only spectators accumulating objects like a dumping ground? Some might but generally I find people explain the world to themselves in odd way that no brain-washer could ever concoct. There’s a book called “What Ever Happened to Kansas” that talks about people making political decisions against their own interests and how that came about. It’s a rather complex process to really fool people but now that I think of it I don’t believe there have been studies on how difficult it is to reverse the process. Maybe we are only wired to notice that things get bad–and then they get worse:-)

    Excellent article on MOOC MOOC and what students expect. I think xMOOCs are going to run into opposition from students who are tired of disconnected presentation of facts no matter how high the production values. We have a video on the discoveries of the Hubble space telescope that is unwatchable because, beautiful pictures or not, the producer thought 90% of the content should be the famous talking professor. Who would pay tuition to be bored by smart people–I’d rather have clowns.

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