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Back from … holidays

August 17, 2011

Well, not really. I’ve been around, just not feeling like posting. I feared that my words could be quite strong regarding criticisms over the first semester. It keeps going on (the poor organization, I mean) but there is this “perfect” excuse now: holidays.

Wherever!

I just found this wonderful citation that I feel I must share. It is a treaty about education in its own right:

A standard complaint about schools is that teachers suppress inquiry by requiring memorization of textbook facts. With the younger generation of teachers, however, one is more likely to find that inquiry is subverted rather than suppressed. It is subverted by a kind of namby-pamby relativism that glorifies personal belief, discounts authority, and throws a cloud of indeterminacy around everything. This approach can be more deleteri­ous than the old one, because it provides an easy way to avoid trying to solve knowledge problems. I fear that may be why it has caught on so well among university undergradu­ates and education professors.

[op. cit., p. 243]

Don’t you have to love that “namby-pamby” expression that Bereiter used? Absolutely delicious! Anyway, it makes me think of other things, like about certain works being asked without any regards for the actual time it takes just to get into the subject, no guidance offered upfront, and then being criticized for the student not getting it, whatever “it” means (probably something that is deep inside the teacher’s head, but never gets out).

Wherever!

Bereiter has an advantage: it is open. If you have to criticize it, it will be for explaining, painfully explaining everything, working around the subject from varied angles, and (hopefully) expecting to convince you of the merit of the exposed ideas. Interesting model, indeed!

CBereiter (2002). Education and Mind in the Knowledge Age. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc. (544 pp.)

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