[IAEP] Its.an.education.project Digest, Vol 4, Issue 8

Bill Kerr billkerr at gmail.com
Mon Jul 7 18:31:09 CEST 2008

On Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 11:24 PM, <Andreas.Trawoeger at wgkk.at> wrote:

> Bryan Berry <bryan at olenepal.org> schrieb am 07.07.2008 12:56:23:
> > >The power of the Sugar activities is in the opportunities they give for
> > >self-directed problem-based learning. Achieving this is much more about
> how
> > >teachers "set up" their classes and not about following a preset plan.
> > >Self-directed problem-based learning does not always follow a preset
> plan,
> > >the teacher, the "guide on the side" gives things a nudge from timeto
> time,
> > >more recognising when learning is working well than following a preset
> plan.
> >
> > Tony, we are comparing apples w/ oranges here. Your situation in
> > Australia resembles in almost no aspect the situation of a typical
> > Nepali school. Your advice may be great for a western school but it is
> > not very applicable to Nepali schools for cultural, economic, and social
> > reasons.
> I think what is often overlooked is the high pressure teachers have to
> operate. Western politicians like to boost about the wonderfulness of our
> education system and how much we encourage {replace with nice sounding
> term}.
> In reality our curricula are extremely stuffed and the pressure to know XYZ
> by tomorrow is enormous. This quite often forces teachers to forget all the
> wonderful new learning methods and replace them with classical
> instructionist based teaching.
> In Austria we have a couple of self-directed learning strongholds in
> primary schooling and a long tradition in producing excellent school books.
> But I wouldn't wonder if actual teaching in an ordinary Austrian school
> isn't that much of a difference than a school in Nepal.
> cu andreas

I think in australia and by the sound of it also in austria and nepal the
biggest block to the introduction of constructionist methods is teachers who
don't feel comfortable with it - constructionism is very far from the norm
in australian schools (tony's examples were selective)

Perhaps where Nepal differs is that the general culture is one where teacher
authority is respected and the expectation from students and parents is that
the teacher be the "sage on the stage" - if so, that is harder

btw I teach in a "disadvantaged school" in Australia and am given much more
leeway, to do what I want provided it works, than would happen at a wealthy
private school here - also if kids refuse to sit still and hear a lecture
then the teacher has considerable pressure to try something else (may not
apply in nepal, I don't know)

new classes tend to be instructionist because groups pass through stages
such as dependence, rebellion, cohesion, autonomy -- and this takes time as
well as the right methods

if teacher is not familiar with the software then lessons tend to be
didactic until teacher becomes more familiar because teacher does not have
the skill level to answer wide ranging questions about "how do I do this?"

aspects of constructionist learning can be introduced early but for it to
flourish takes:
(a) time, quite a lot of (note alan's 3 year trial period)
(b) expertise in software being used
(c) knowledge of taking classes through the stages mentioned above
(d) culture that accepts innovative approaches

some ideas from seymour papert about teacher requirements here:

   - Skilled in modern learning theories and psychology
   - Skilled in relating to a variety of children
   - Skilled in detecting new, important elements of their student's culture
   - Skilled in cross curricular applications
   - Skilled in computing
   - Able to apply a variety of skills creatively
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.lo-res.org/pipermail/its.an.education.project/attachments/20080708/1d28ce4f/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the Its.an.education.project mailing list