— S e b l o g g i n g

On the asymmetry of the art of learning and the art of teaching

“The unequal treatment of our language of the arts of learning and of teaching is visible in grammar as well as in vocabulary. Think, for example, of parsing the sentence, “The teacher teaches a child.” Teacher is he active subject of the sentence; child is the passive object. The teacher does something to the learner. This grammatical form bears the stamp of school’s hierarchical ideology in representing the teaching as the active process. The teacher is in control and is therefore the one who needs skill; the learner simply has to obey instructions. This asymmetry is so deeply rooted that even the advocates of “active” or “constructivist” education find it hard to escape. There are many books and courses on the art of constructivist teaching, that talk about the art of of setting up situations in which the learner will “construct knowledge”; but I do not know of any books on what I would assume to be the more difficult art of actually constructing knowledge. The how-to-do-it literature in the constructivist subculture is almost as strongly biased to the teacher side as it is in the instructionist subculture” (p-10).

Papert, S. (1996). A word for learning. In Y. Kafai, Y. & M. Resnick (Eds.), Constructionism in practice (pp. 9-24). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum.

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