Changing Pedagogy

21 Feb

If education like a faith journey is a search for meaning, then should our goal as teachers be to ask good questions even when there are no clear answers?

We are ako. We are lifelong learners. It does not matter if even as teacher we do not have the answers.

For decades, our education systems have been built around the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student. The prescribed curriculum provided one path through the maze and gave students few opportunities to learn through experimentation – to connect their own dots.

I found this quote from New York Times, which I have been doing a great deal of reflecting on this week. My love for this paper was generated during my time studying in Syracuse.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/14/opinion/sunday/the-elusive-big-idea.html?_r=0

We live in the much vaunted Age of Information. Courtesy of the Internet, we seem to have immediate access to anything that anyone could ever want to know. We are certainly the most informed generation in history, at least quantitatively. There are trillions upon trillions of bytes out there in the ether — so much to gather and to think about.

And that’s just the point. In the past, we collected information not simply to know things. That was only the beginning. We also collected information to convert it into something larger than facts and ultimately more useful — into ideas that made sense of the information. We sought not just to apprehend the world but to truly comprehend it, which is the primary function of ideas. Great ideas explain the world and one another to us.

Our system has become a little lost. We have become focused on results rather than process. We have become absorbed on content to knowledge, teaching to curriculum delivery and we have allowed the answer to shape the question.

We need to go back and ask how we are asking these questions.

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