Hope you’re doing well and enjoying the first days of spring which are emerging with sunlight and budding plants despite all the horror that seems to surround us, or bombard us constantly from the news. Anyway, the only answer, I think, is to carry on doing the best you can, little by little, in an attempt to do something worthwhile, so here are my thoughts on teaching and learning for this week. As you probably know I’ve launched out into distance learning and have been experimenting with online classes at WizIQ, an excellent site that I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone interested in this field.
Aducating not educating
After doing a few lessons, and attending other lessons online, and in the light of Salman Kahn’s inspiring TED talk on Kahn Academy and what people are accomplishing as a result (see video link at the bottom of this post), I have begun to think that we are in the middle of the next revolution where we are no longer going to be educators but are becoming “aducators”. In the past educators aimed to help learners to “interiorise” information and skills, by memorising or by elaborating and exploring, but in our world memorising input which is provided for you by teachers is no longer necessary because we are surrounded by information sources. In an aducation system we would be leading learners to those information sources and helping them to learn how to use them, how to distinguish between what is banal or simply wrong, and what is enrichening and thought provoking, we, as aducators, would be using our skills and background knowledge to help a new generation of learners process, elaborate and explore information, in a fruitful positive way, so that they are empwered and can learn to think and draw conclusions for themselves, and, as a result… dare I say it, learn.
I had already begun to think along these lines after listening to Gavin Dudeney at the Iatefl Conference in Cardiff 2009, when he talked about Google and Wikipedia, and how we can teach learners to eplore these resources. His common sense ideas, to my surprise, were met with quite a lot of resistance from educators in the audience, and I have heard of people who ban the use of Wikipedia for research purposes. This, to my mind, is throwing the baby out with the bath water, as Wikipedia is an excellent starting point for learners to begin their searches.
In short, the world is changing and we can choose to change with it, and use our expertise to help our learners discover theirs. So, I will stop here and let you follow the links and form your own opinions.