Tony Gurr

Evolving the LEARNing Paradigm…

In Adult Educators, Teacher Learning, The Paradigm Debate on 21/12/2012 at 2:04 am

Tony Wagner QUOTATION (isolation)

A while back I stumbled upon a new blog (well, “new” for “me”) – Free-Range ELT from Kathy FagenKathy has a very interesting back-story herself  but it was her post “Should We Be Student-Centred?” that caught my eye…

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Besides, she is also a lover of allthingsParkerPalmer:

Palmer QUOTATION - Circle of Trust

and Dogme!

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Initially, when I looked at the “title” of Kathy’s post, my reaction (you know me) was a bit like:

Duh (TG ver 4 blog)

BUT, as I read, I started to see where she was coming from.

What do they say about that little word “assume” – and how it can make an “ASS” out of “U” and “ME”)…

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Like Kathy…I have never been a “fan” of the term “student-centred”.

I have never really “got” why there really needs to be a “debate” about whether TEACHers should be “TEACHer-centred” or “STUDENT-centred”. Surely, the “whole point” of any type of formal EDUcation is the “student”! 

OK, I prefer the terms “LEARNer” and “LEARNing” – but we all know (don’t we?) that TEACHing is just one of the “means”, not the “ends” of EDUcation.

BUTthen again…we do have that little issue of the “design flaw” that so many of our schoolscolleges and universities seem to have  hard-wired into their DNA:

Barr and Tagg QUOTATION (1995)

Go on – click on the image to read the Barr & Tagg article!

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Maybe, I am a bit “thick” – I still do not get why a school or university would be designed for the “convenience” of ADMINistrators, TEACHers…and INSTRUCTion

…rather than for the convenience of LEARNers and their LEARNing!

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Tony…this is about Kathy and her postnot you…focus!

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Kathy said something I loved near the end of her post:

The paradigm-shift that gave birth to the phrase “student-centered learning” is revolutionary.  But I wonder if it isn’t time to step even further along that path.  I’d like to see the line between student, teacher, and the others at a learning institution eliminated completely and replaced with equal respect for our experience, skills, responsibilities, needs and aims.  We are all there to support the same thing: LEARNing.  

Who is the LEARNer?  Who is the TEACHer? 

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Yesa woman after my own heart!

I added a comment to Kathy’s post – and talked about the importance of “beliefs“. I also hinted at the fact that it is the beliefs on both “sides” of the “line” – …that are really important. However, as I was writing my comment I had a very specific “story” in the back of my mind…a story that I highlighted in my last post.

My reflections on that post left me feeling a little “sad” – and when I went back to Kathy’s post, I realised that I did not want to link her post to my own (less than positive) “rant”. This is why I have split the posts!

FAILure (Covey quote)


What Kathy proposes in her post is the “way ahead” – it has to be. It is the “natural” stage of evolution for the LEARNing Paradigm.

The LEARNers in our schools, colleges and universities are the “co-creators” of their own LEARNing – and, as Barr and Tagg remind us “they” can, and must, take responsibility for their own LEARNing.

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Whitby QUOTATION (Better EDU cators)

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What I liked about Kathy’s (more optimistic) view is that it is grounded on LISTENing…and LEARNingby TEACHer LEARNers. Just as “students” need to evolve into LEARNers by taking more responsibility for their own LEARNing, “teachers” can evolve into TEACHer LEARNers by accepting other types of responsibilities.

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Block (fingerprint quote)

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As Barr and Tagg (also) remind us: 

responsibility is a win-win game wherein two agents take responsibility for the same outcome even though neither is in complete control of all the variables. When two agents take such responsibility, the resulting synergy produces powerful results.

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  1. […] Things Learning (blog).  ”Evolving the Learning Paradigm.” 21 December […]

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