Part Two: Teasing-Out How Our Theory of Learning/Teaching Matters

The proper aim of education is to promote significant learning. Significant learning entails development. Development means successively asking broader and deeper questions of the relationship between oneself and the world. –Laurent A. Daloz (1999) Just for fun, let’s look at potential alternatives for each of the sentences in this quote. The proper aim of education is to promote significant learning. How about, the proper aim of education is to promote:

  • The skills, attitude and knowledge to make (a lot of) money
  • Know how to live in ways that promote community and peace
  • Have a range of skills that lead to flexible adaptability in order to prepare for an unknown future
  • Know how to manage emotions and urges in service of themselves and others
  • Give American corporations a competitive advantage so that stockholders can earn dividends and people have jobs
  • Follow the rules of the current society

Significant learning entails development. How about, significant learning entails:

  • Mastering a craft
  • Producing what is valued in society
  • Promotes the recognition of the ways in which we oppress and the ways we are oppressed

Development means successively asking broader and deeper questions of the relationship between oneself and the world. How about, development means:

  • Fully prepared for jobs (that may or may not exist any longer)
  • Respectfully exploring and openly responding to others’ ideas
  • Passionately upholding the values and ideas that your family, your community and/or your country has established

As I consider these alternatives and the quote above, I can imagine widely different approaches to the way I prepare for and teach, as well as what I imagine I need or want to learn. What strikes you?

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