Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Affirmative action in language - delete teacher

Stanley makes a good summary of his thoughts out of Global Summit, and is hopefully going to articulate something of an ecological perspective towards learning sometime soon.

He points out the common interpretation people are taking away from the teaching is dead idea, the feeling that perhaps I meant to say teaching is dead, long live teaching. Unfortunately that is quite the opposite to what I should have said, but I accept that by using correlations with "painting is dead, long live painting" I have perhaps mislead people in my thinking about teaching.

Imagine a paragraph about teaching and learning, but without the word and concept of teacher/ing. I think by calling it "“teaching is dead, long live learning"” I mean to point out that learning occurs without teaching. Basically reinforce Illich and many other’s who say that most if not all of our learning does or can occur outside the power of Teaching. Many people talk about the need for teachers to become learners again, in an effort to fit them in with this new age. To that I would respond and say, the day teachers stop being learners is the day they can no longer be teachers.

So what good is the concept of teaching? Is it not enough to simply work with the idea of learning? Where some learners are in a temporary position to assist other learners. Or more importantly, what do we loose by ceasing to use the word teacher? Does the meaning or interpretation of my blog change if I were to call it simply Learning Online? Can't the teaching bit just be implicit?

What I am trying to say I think is that by ditinguishing the concept of teaching as a practice that is different to learning, we straight away break the the process of learning. By identifying someone as a teacher and another as a learner - there, it is broken. The practice of teaching still exists of course, but it is no longer the full time, entitled practice we give it today. The teacher is gone, replaced by a learner.

This would work well in a research organisation, where the practice of research (learning) is directly connected with the practice of showing others what is being learned. What we end up with then, is a progression of learning where teaching is absorbed as a small event used for learning. Basic knowledge and skills are demonstrated and mentored by those working intermediately, and intermediate learners learn from advanced learners.

teaching is simply a part of learning. Such a small part, or such an everywhere occurrence that it is barely worth mentioning.

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1 comment:

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