Sunday, October 19, 2008

Student-Centered Education?

When is a topic always interesting? When do students never fail to pay attention or be 'present'?

When it's about them.
  • Does the environment reflect their (colour and deco) culture?
  • Are the materials related to their likings and media preferences?
  • Have the learning outcomes been set with their collaboration? Do they agree on the relevance to their lives (as opposed to some pre-set curriculum)?
  • Has the instructional stimulus been fine-tuned to connect intensely with their feelings and lives?
  • Has the method of assessment been agreed upon by them? Can they assess each other?

It's not about ensuring that a resounding Yes is given to all of the above. Hardly.

The critical thing is: Have we asked questions like the above? Are we listening to the unasked ones half-crying out from our students/learners, regarding their education?


Alex Tang said...

Hi Alwyn,

You have highlighted an important but sadly neglected component in our education. Education is not about us (the teachers) but about them (the students). For too long we have regarded students as an empty vessel waiting to be filled or a empty tablet waiting for us to write on. It is time we treat them as persons and making education a collaborative effort.

Alwyn said...

Thanks for the comments, Alex.

I think the 'secular' colleges are starting to get into the groove. It's the churches which are a huge concern.

You think the pseudo-obsession with 'truth' has anything to do with it? ;>)

Alex Tang said...

I am not so sure that it is a pseudo-obsession with 'truth' or that we have all been sold a lie.

Alwyn said...

hi Alex,

not so sure how your 'sold a lie' fits in, but I'll try to explain what i meant with the 'truth' thing.

my point is when the main concern is truth - basically a system built around logic and certainty and 'rules' - then deviations and even variations are frowned upon.

hence, all the heresy-burning the past and so on (I believe you even wrote something on this last year, around the time when McLaren came to visit?).

now, given this need/'obsession' with guarding a set of propositions, how easy or likely will allowing students to 'set the agenda', to decide, to imagine their own forms of learning, apply?

If protecting and disseminating an institution's creed and doctrines are the main thing, then almost be definition, the students' learning is not(!). what if students wanted to learn about variations in doctrine? or about the 'water-tightness' of certain traditional creeds? would the Church encourage that?

see what I'm getting at?