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Monday, July 19, 2010

Nascent thought about roles in learning

I went to my daughter's sports day last week - a classic of the reception class "involved-not-competitive and yet just a little competitive anyway" model. I was interested by the differing attitudes of the parents from the uber-coaching (some of whom had been out on the common with stop watches the previous evening I am told) to the completely laid back.

The following day I met with Teodora's reception class teacher, who is an absolute delight, for the end of year parents' evening chat. I was immediately taken back to something that she said to me earlier in the year... When I talked about how defensive my daughter can occasionally get when I correct her reading or writing or even gently model the correct form without even correcting, her teacher just laughed and said, "What on earth are you doing trying to teach your own child? I gave up on that long ago!"

I have recently been reading Martyn Sloman's ebook soon to be published at the Training Journal website and in amongst his nine principles, number three is "disregard anything that was written in the last century". Now he is being deliberately provocative and I am sure he is not getting rid of the whole "standing on the shoulders of giants" theme. But he does have a pop at the structured approach to learning. His suggestions for replacements are dependent on the context.

Which brings me to my thought. Is the future of learner creation - since that is what I think we should be about - dependent on surrounding learners with people or networks which perform a set of appropriate roles? I don't know what these roles will be but they might include (trust, productive communication, challenge and question, etc etc) In the same way that a child builds their own model of the world from the relationships of their family and immediate environment (father, mother, lover, friend) and the healthier the role models and the environment the healthier the eventual adult.


1 comment:

Alex Chisholm said...

I read some where (don't know where probably the Guardian) that research suggested that baby humans as opposed to other baby primates learn by copying. That give a baby human and a baby chimp the same task the baby chimp will try to figure out what to do whereas the baby human will do what it has seen others do. Apparently this is so we can learn more. It does mean that the 'do as I say not as I do' approach is a non-starter. But I think I knew that already.

Don't know if the above is of any real relevance but guess I'm saying I agree; the roles and role models one is surrounded with shapes one's learning.