Tony Gurr

Archive for the ‘Adult Learners’ Category

When DIGITAL Natives… ‘Sleep’!

In Adult Learners, News & Updates (from the CBO), Technology on 19/03/2014 at 10:39 am

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I have been working far too hard these past few weeks – and, as we all know;

All work, and no play…makes Tony Hoca a “dull” boy!

Tony Hoca (new avatar)

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This weekend, I did a little webinar for those lovely boys and girls (all girls, actually!) over at The Spring Blog Festival – and talked about my own visual literacy “journey”.

I’m still getting the hang of this “webinar busyness” – time just whizzed by and I had so much fun doing it! And, to boot – I made some new cyber-playmates”

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THANK YOUNellie Hocam, Shelly Hocam and Slyvia Hocam 😉

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Doing that session (at 22:00 on a Sunday nite!) really helped me remember how important it is to thunk about visual literacy – in my bloggery…and my life in general:

Slide3

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…but sometimes that “little boy” can go too far!

Camera…software…editing “time”:

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When digital natives go to sleep (TG ver)

When digital immigrants go to sleep (TG ver)

…on the sofa TONITE, I guess!

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Have a GREAT day!

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What I want my TEACHers to “say” to me…from now on!

In Adult Learners, News & Updates (from the CBO) on 31/08/2013 at 12:24 pm

06 Creativity FQs (balance TG ver)

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A while back, I signed up for one of those “training programmes”.

You know…those professional, cutting-edge (or “bleeding edge”), high “value-added” 5-day courses – at a “posh hotel”, of course!

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Yes, I am now missing an appendage or three!

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I won’t tell you what the “course” was about…don’t want to embarrass meself (or the trainer)!

But, suffice to say, it wasn’t a very pleasant LEARNing opportunity…for me, at least. OK – I LEARNed a few new (and quite “sexy”) buzz-words or rather LEARNed “about” a few buzz-words…

The food and snacks were great!

Have to admit that…

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What I will tell you is that I heard a lot of this:

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  • This is the CONTENT I will DELIVER

LEARNing (cannot be delivered) Ver 02

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  • This is the KNOWLEDGE you will leave the PROGRAMME with…

EdL (Care and Emotions)

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After a wee bit of thunking, I have decided not to do one of these programmes again – or, at least, till I hear a “trainer” say this:

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What I want my TEACHers to say to me

…to me!

– and “mean” it…

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See! I can do short, bite-sized posts!

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The “Art” of Sailing…and Collaborative LEARNing (from GUEST BLOGGER Laurence Raw)

In Adult Learners, Our Universities, The Paradigm Debate on 18/08/2013 at 2:51 pm
Creativity (Duras quote on seeing 01)
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I have just spent four days watching the conclusion of the Tall Ships race in Szczecin, Poland, as well as attending a conference dedicated to the metaphor of the sea in humanities learning.
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Watching the tall ships was a fascinating event, especially when one of them sailed into dry dock, accompanied by the crew singing Egyptian sea-shanties to the accompaniment of the bagpipes (an interesting transcultural experience there).
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Sailing and Teamwork (Slocum quote 01)
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As I watched, I could not help but admire the way the crew acted as a community of purpose – not only playing and singing their own music, but working with one another to ensure the ship’s safe passage into the dock.  I wondered why such communities could not be forged elsewhere – especially in the academy or educational institution.
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The next two days were spent listening to papers at the conference, and I soon understood why.  Although ostensibly dedicated to transcultural learning and teaching, the majority of pieces were dominated by what might be described as binary oppositions (black/ white, learner/ educator, west/east, America/Europe, Democrat/ Republican) that are necessarily exclusive in concept: one part of the binary is necessarily reinforced at the expense of the other.  Educators assume more importance in classes than learners; Mainstream American cultures are prioritized in curricula at the expense of locally produced cultures; the list is endless.
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Sailing and Teamwork (Pat Riley quote 01)
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I reflected a little, and wondered if we might find alternative ways of thinking by returning to the idea of tall ships and the sea.  To negotiate stormy waters, a crew must learn to act together; to take into account their differing strengths and abilities and use them to forge a prosperous community dedicated to the tasks in hand.  This should also be the basis of every learning experience; to negotiate the stormy waters of criticism, funding, syllabus or classroom issues, members of an academic community – whether at the school or university level – should take heed of the ship’s crew, and learn how to work inclusively rather than exclusively.
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To do this requires a fundamental shift in thinking.  It means that greater attention needs to be paid to “why” questions rather than “what” questions, especially where learning issues are concerned.  Everyone should acknowledge that learning is messy; it cannot be shoehorned into binary oppositions, as everyone (whether learners or educators) learns and reacts in different ways.  A community of purpose should give each of its members the time and space to think, as well as determine their roles within that community.
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Change (David Thoreau quote)
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Through this subtle shift of approach, I believe that a learning community can become like a ship’s crew, piloting themselves (as well as their institutions) through the Scylla and Charybdis of obstacles, so that they can land safely in dry dock.  Until the next voyage, that is.
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I wonder if it would work?
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Laurence Raw (aka @laurenceraw on Twitter)
Baskent University – Ankara, Turkey
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
http://baskent.academia.edu/LaurenceRaw
http://www.radiodramareviews.com

THUNKS…for Teachers (this time)!

In Adult Learners, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 27/07/2013 at 8:26 am

Teacher THUNKS 01

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A short while back I did a couple of posts on “THUNKS”:

…and highlighted the great little book from Ian Gilbert  –  The Little Book of THUNKS – 260 questions to make your brain go ouch!

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A lot of you seemed to like this notion of THUNKingas any TEACHer worth her salt should. One of my friends also suggested that I read the follow-up book that Ian also did… – there was another?

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As it happened, I had actually bought that one , too – The Book of Thunks – but as I was moving house (I have done this soooooo many times over the last 17-18 years). The book remained packed…and it was not until I moved to big, bad İstanbul last month (and to a new house…again) that I re-discovered it.

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As was the case with the first, it was chokablock with some great thunkssome of them about LEARNing:

Teacher THUNKS 03 (three from Ian Gilbert)

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The problem was…as I worked my way through the thunks, very few of them were directly linked to TEACHers. This is probably because Ian had set up this book as a set of dinner-party conversation starters – designed to annoy the bloody hell out of unwanted guests, no doubt.

So…I decided to adapt a few of them – like the one in the very first image of this post.

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Now, that one might not make your brain go “ouch”…but it sent shivers down my back! Go on…THUNK it over for a minute – and then ask your “boss” what she thunks!

I dare YOU!

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I started by playing with this one:

Teacher THUNKS 02

OMG! That’s a bit serious, Tony…I work in the Gulf!

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Here’s another:

Teacher THUNKS 04

Now, this is a topical one!

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What about this one:

Teacher THUNKS 05

İsa, Meryem and Yusuf! Tony…

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Try this one:

Teacher THUNKS 06

Now, that’s a conundrum!

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Hey, try this – with a few TEACHer-pals:

Teacher THUNKS 07

Bet they never RT your tweets again!

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This one is for any TEACHer that has taught in a Turkish primary or high school – to lighten things a little:

Teacher THUNKS 08

I thought they were both “dead“!

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I thought they would all be good for TEACHer pot-luck parties (most of us can’t afford to host a dinner party).

If your brain is not hurting too much, drop us a comment with your reflecto-THUNKS!

Enjoy…

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If you like these THUNKS….and want to do some of your own – why not pop over to www.thunks.co.uk and “add” a few yourself!

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Bedtime Reading: The Book of Thunks

LEARNing to Cope with Exams (Guest Post from Laurence Raw)

In Adult Learners, Assessment, Guest BLOGGERS, Our Universities on 24/07/2013 at 3:04 pm

Assessment (David Boud quote) Ver 02

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Many learners from all over Europe will have taken exams this summer; the results might yet not be known.  My fourteen-year-old niece had this experience, and unfortunately she did not do so well.  I realized that the results bore little or no relationship to her intellectual capabilities; she obtained a poor grade on account of what might be termed TESTaphobia.  As I listened to her, I recalled my days at school and university, when I was so scared of exams that I used to imagine myself suffering from chest pains, so that I could go to hospital and obtain some kind of tranquillizers.

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I read recently that British Education Secretary Michael Gove insisted that “exams matter because motivation matters … Human beings are hard-wired to seek out challenges … the experience of clearing a hurdle we once considered too high spurs us on to further endeavours and deeper learning”

But what if the need to jump that hurdle prevents learners from achieving success?  What happens to those whose wires are configured in different ways, and might need to discover alternative means of achieving “further endeavours and deeper LEARNing?”  Many websites offer advice as to how to deal with this condition (by learning from experiences, devising a realistic revision schedule, taking time off or relaxing), but they’re actually missing the point.

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Assess Lit 03

The only way to change attitudes towards exams is to change the LEARNing cultures in which they take place.  Learners have to understand that passing exams is not simply about “clearing a hurdle,” but rather providing an opportunity for them to express what they have learned.  Educators should help them to approach an exam in a positive frame of mind; rather like an actor giving a performance in front of the camera, they need to perform to the best of their ability.  And even if they do not do as well as they should, exams are not the be-all and end-all of their educational lives; what matters more is that they should feel they have achieved their own personal goals through the courses that they have taken.

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Assidere (original meaning) Ver 02

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Perhaps it’s time to go back to first principles; to understand that any program of study is not primarily concerned with the exam but with the experience of LEARNing.  This can only be achieved through negotiation; the working out of a series of mutually shared goals that educators and learners alike feel happy to pursue.  As the course unfolds, so everyone should be encouraged to reflect on its usefulness; this might be achieved through discussion, or by encouraging everyone to keep a journal to record feelings and experiences.  Learners can use this as a means to develop their self-esteem, to discover for themselves what they have LEARNed.

In this type of model, the exam functions as an extension of the journal, enabling learners to expound at greater length what they might have already recorded in their journals, and (in an ideal world) thereby manage to deal successfully with their fears.

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However this can only be achieved through educator support.  This is one thing that Gove and his fellow-mandarins in politics will never understand: learners can only develop themselves when they feel that they are part of a community.  A piece in The Guardian written by a practising  educator asks whether there is a line to be drawn between ‘helping’ and ‘hindering’ learners; whether too much support for learners taking exams is not counter-productive: “What do they learn about self-motivation and independence?  If we want them to become lifelong learners, don’t they at some point need to learn how to teach themselves?

I think this is a comment of mind-blowing fatuity, implying that there is some kind of distinction to be drawn between “TEACHing,” and “LEARNing.”

In a LEARNing community in which everyone participates and helps one another, the problem of developing motivation simply doesn’t arise.  Learners might have to take exams, but they can approach them in a positive frame of mind if they are supported by their peers as well as their educators.

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Assessment (fattening pigs)

The question here is one of shifting focus, of understanding the psychological reasons why learners fear exams, and restructuring the course of study to help deal with them.  However I fear that no one will be too interested in this solution, especially those politicians who believe that standards can be improved through quick fixes.  At the classroom level, however, I think that improvements can be made, or at least I’d like to think so.

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Laurence Raw
(aka @laurenceraw on Twitter)
Baskent University – Ankara, Turkey
Editor: Journal of American Studies of Turkey
http://baskent.academia.edu/LaurenceRaw
http://www.radiodramareviews.com

The Future is NOT in LEARNing …(the RE-Boot)

In Adult Learners, Teacher Learning, The Paradigm Debate on 06/07/2013 at 7:45 am


big bad İSTANBUL

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I know, I know…been doing a few too many of these RE-boots of late and you are getting fed up of them!

Actually, there is a method in my recent bout of bloggery madnessto be honest…a few methods – I’m reviewing ideas for a couple of new book thunks, I’m getting the chance to catch up on a few image credits that I have skipped (by accident, honest to God!) and I’m looking at a few ideas for new posts!

I’ve chosen this one – not because it was really popular…but, because I liked it!

‘Tis my blog afterall…

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This post followed a slightly more quirky post entitled “Not all LEARNing is created equal!” – and I was trying to thunk through the issues of RElearning, UNlearning and UPlearning…without wanting to stab someone in the head (or throat…the eye, even) every time they came up in conversation!

I am not a violent man…by nature…I do, usually, have a high tolerance for ambiguity (and “bullshit”)…but I just cannot cope with people who make up wordbites in order to have a stab at their 15 minutes!

But, this one was calmer than my usual “rants” – see what you thunk!

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OK…quickly look at the “title” of the post, again!

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WTF (with doggies)

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Now, I bet you never expected to see THAT kind of title on THIS blog!

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In one of my recent posts – Not All LEARNing is Created Equal – I finished up by using Alvin Toffler’s well-known, but over-used, quote:

UNlearn and RElearn (Toffler quote) Ver 02

…and suggested that schools, colleges and universities really needed to do a great deal of UNlearning and RElearning – if they wanted to get serious about moving from the SUPERFICIAL LEARNing we see so much of and “pick up the ball” in terms of the type of TRANSFORMATIONAL LEARNing our students need.

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I began to wonder about this – and did a bit of thunking.

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What I discovered was that Toffler did not actually “say” this – what he actually put down on paper was:

“The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction — how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.

(Future Shock, 1970: p.271)

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And, you can imagine my shock when he revealed that he was using the words of Herbert Gerjuoy – after they had had a casual chat!

Do I really need to go back and re-edit all my graphics and images???

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Maybe, the future really is all about UNlearning and RElearning

Maybe, I need to change the name of my blog…

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Maybe…

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Actually, (if I was really honest) I “stole” today’s title from Kathy Sierra and the wonderful blog she runs with Dan Russell – Creating Passionate Users (go on…click on it, you know you want to)!

Kathy’s post is also not that “new” – it dates back to 2005 (so I’m guessing it’s OK to swipe her title). Kathy also lets us know that she was “inspired” – also “code” for “nicking stuff” in learning and teaching circles – by John Seely Brown over a decade ago)!

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Come on Tony – get to the bloody point, won’t you?

There are plenty of other blogs that use far less words than you…and package their sound bites for easier “consumption”!

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OK – so the “deal” is that Kathy wrapped up her ideas in a neat little “timeline”:

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Kathy also explained her rationale:

Yes, we’re under pressure to learn more and to learn quickly, but the future goes to those who can unlearn faster than the rest, because you can’t always learn something new until you first let go of something else. And learning to let go of rules is one of the first things we have to learn to be quicker at. Sometimes that means letting go of something that served you well for a long time. And that’s the toughest thing.

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And, finished up by saying / asking:

Forget LEARNing (Home Alone graphic)

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Now, this is a pretty “sexy idea” – and I can see why so many people picked up on it in the business world.

It’s interesting that many of the people who did run with the idea have a “busyness background” – both Alvin Toffler and John Seely Brown, for example.

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Even Kathy’s powerful examples show her background and focus:

  • UNlearn what your target market is (because it just changed).
  • UNlearn the way you advertise and market (because your market just got a lot smarter).
  • UNlearn the way you approach your brand (because it’s no longer within your control).
  • UNlearn the way you teach (because learners need to unlearn and learn simultaneously)
  • UNlearn the way you treat your employees (because before you know it, that “meets expectations” review might come back to haunt you on a blog )
  • UNlearn the technology you use (self-explanatory… we’re all living this one)
  • UNlearn the methodology you use
  • UNlearn the designs you use
  • UNlearn the words you use to describe your business

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I agree that these suggestions are pretty critical if you are involved in running a business – if you do not do these things, basically you go out of business! The difference is that “in business” we see a lot more STRATEGIC LEARNing or SURFACE LEARNing that gets us what we want – and we all know that “faking-it-till-you make-it” is a pretty common strategy in business circles.

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We can’t do that in education – there’s more at stake than “sales” or “profit maximisation”. SURFACE and SUPERFICIAL LEARNing do not cut it…

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Besides, we also need to ask whether UNlearning actually “exists” in the “real world” – whether it is a real “thingy”! Hey, maybe this why Toffler did not use the words we so often attribute to him…he is a very smart cookie…

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Covey tells us (and you know how I loves me “Uncle Stephen”):

3 Constants (Covey quote) Ver 03

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What I take from this is that no one ever really UNlearns anything – we just LEARN more and make different choices.

Hopefully, we make “principled choices” – and this is the start of TRANSFORMATIONAL LEARNing.

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One of the key elements of TRANSFORMATIONAL LEARNing is “perspective transformation”.

Mezirow tells us that this:

“…is the process of becoming critically aware of how and why our assumptions have come to constrain the way we perceive, understand, and feel about our world; changing these structures of habitual expectation to make possible a more inclusive, discriminating, and integrating perspective; and, finally, making choices or otherwise acting upon these new understandings” (Mezirow 1991, p. 167).

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If we are to ensure that our schools, colleges and universities change the processes and practices that have led to the widespread levels of SURFACE and SUPERFICIAL LEARNing we see these days, they need to TAKE a LEARNing Perspective – not just “have a perspective on learning”.

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This means asking some tough questions – the first of which are:

  • Are our schools, colleges and universities LEARNing institutions or TEACHing institutions?
  • Do our schools, colleges and universities “teach” STUDENTS or “teach” COURSES?

If we are honest (and many institutions have already walked down this path), we see the need for more (similar) questions:

  • What are we here to do for our LEARNers?
  • What really “matters” in an education system?
  • What stops students from LEARNing in our schools and system?
  • What is wrong with the way we are currently “doing business”?

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It is questions like these that really get the “perspective transformation” engine fired up – and help us see the need to TAKE action and start walking-our-new-talk:

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  • What does it take for a LEARNer to flourish in the complex realities of the 21st century?
  • What can we do to expand and improve the LEARNing of all our students and staff?
  • What can we do to dramatically increase the ability of our schools and our teachers to LEARN and keep on LEARNing?
  • How do we know this?

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4 types of LEARNing Ver 03

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Hey, with questions like these who has time to worry about UNlearning and RElearning ?

let’s just get on with the LEARNing and make better choices!

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Can I keep the name of my blog, now?

– allthingsUNlearning just don’t seem like such a great idea after all!

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NB: You know, yes?…that the “F” in “WTF”…means “flip” (or maybe “frak” – at a push)!

BLOGGING – the “secret weapon” that is (finally) helping TEACHers “trump” SCHOLars? (the RE-boot)…

In Adult Learners, Our Universities, The Paradigm Debate on 05/07/2013 at 8:39 am

big bad İSTANBUL

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Still doing a couple of bloggery RE-boots to celebrate reaching my 500,000th milestone

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This one took me totally by surprise and was one of the most popular posts of 2012. Initially posted at the end of May, it stayed on my list of top 10 “best-sellers” for over three monthsnot too shabby, when you realise that most blog posts these days have a shelf life of around 7 days…tops!

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In a way, this post is quite significant for me (as a bloggery LEARNer) as it was the first time that I started to use images to “tell my stories” – rather than just use graphics to “support” the thunks I wanted to get on “paper” (on “screen”).

Some people have told me that this makes my posts more difficult to read…but I find it also makes them more fun to write!

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Anyways, I hope you enjoy seeing it again…or seeing it for the first time!

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TRUMP card Ver 02

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One of my favourite EDUreads from the last 15 years or so is Larry Cuban’s How Scholars Trumped Teachers.

Larry is my kinda EDUscholar and EDUcator – a real “thunking doer” who tells it like it is and does not pull his punches where the LEARNing of others, especially our “kids”, is concerned.

He also has an amazing blog – Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice – and, if you ain’t checked it out, you just don’t know the EDUblogosphere well enough.

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Anyways, the book, written in 1999 (yes, we “oldies” actually read these paper-based thingies back in the day) describes the development of the American Academe over 1890-1990 – using Stanford as his “case study”.

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OK, so he picks up that old chestnut of a question:

What is more important within the university – TEACHing or RESEARCH?

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But…his “answer” really hits the “spot” – and probably cost him a few “Academy pals”!

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Most of us in EDUland know:

Karabell Paradox (Ver 02)

… don’t we?

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Larry does! And, he basically “proves” that it is what academics are “trained” to do that has won out – again, and again, and again.

Not only in the States – all over the bloody globe!

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What Larry also does is also help us “see” through the smoke n’ mirrors that have characterised the type of “changes” and “reforms” the Academe claims to have realised over the years…

It’s a good read! A VERY good read…

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We TEACHers – knowing how much we have been trumped” (click this one) left, right and centre (yep, definition #02 is the one!) – have been known to get a bit miffed about this (…isn’t that Urban Dictionary just great)!

We tend to work harder (with the “people” who “matter”), we put in more hours (planning for the people who matter) – and we take more crap from the parents of the people who matter…and journalists, politicians, wanabe EDUgurus, publishers – do I need to go on?

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A lot of us see conventional higher LEARNing for what it is…and accept that…

Tradition and Bureaucracy (Moe quote) Ver 02

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We also know that the famed “holy trinity” that represents the “purpose” of the Academe – TEACHingRESEARCH and PUBLIC SERVICE – basically, and in practice, “translate” into:

Holy Trinity in HEd (Ver 02)

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We also see that our universities can and do make some very serious “mistakes”:

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Even…the best of them!

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It is because of these, and that fact that we do focus so much of our energy on LEARNing the people who matter, that many of us also ask the question:

Folk Wisdom (Schleicher quote) Ver 02

A fair question really!

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Because…every one of us “knows” (in our heart-of-hearts) that…

EXPERT Brain Ver 02

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I mean, would any university department shiriously consider putting together a “research team” (on the back of a big, fat government grant) made up of people who had not been trained in research methodology, had limited experience of conducting field work or (God forbiddid not have clue about MLA citations.

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That last one is quite interesting – and it now seems that we can even cite our tweets in MLA format. This little change is one tiny example of the “campus tsunami” everyone is banging on about these days…

Bob Dylan (for the times they are a chagin) Ver 02

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The difference…is that TEACHers are ahead of the game, this time – and blogging is our secret weapon!

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The WORLD has changed…

EDUcational THUNKing has changed…

LEARNers are changing…

LITERACY is being transformed

SCHOLARship (and AUTHORship) are being assimilated…

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Blogging is leading the charge with allthingsdemocratisation – and TEACHers have proven themselves to be the BORG of the blogosphere. Just take a look at the blogging figures – those groups of professionals actually using the blogosphere to get their voices “out there” – and inspire others to find their voices!

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TEACHers rule…and are ROCKing the blogosphere!

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It used to be the case that we ran around our classrooms “exposing” ourselves to every Tom, Dick or Harriet who presented themselves to us…Now, we are sharingreflecting…and ADAPTing on a global scale – the likes of which God has never seen!

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Good for us…GOOD for our LEARNers!

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And, it’s fair to ask, I thunk:

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Where are all the SCHOLars?

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POSTSCRIPT:

I did, in fact, do a couple of follow-up posts to this one.

But…and remember:

TELLıng theTRUTH (Ver 03)

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…neither of them really took off in the same way. Maybe, I tried to push a “neat idea” a little too farmaybe I got a little too self-indulgentmaybe they were just “crap”!

There’s a BLOGGERY lesson to be LEARNed in there…

Neyse, have a look at them…if you have 10 minutes to kill!

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Viva la rEVOLUTION!

(posted on 30/05/2012)

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I’m still STANDing…yeah, yeah, yeah!

(posted on 18/06/2012)

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REFLECT (and THUNK) Yourself…to GREATness (the RE-boot)!

In Adult Learners, Quality & Institutional Effectiveness, Teacher Learning on 26/06/2013 at 12:38 am

big bad İSTANBUL

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A couple of you have probably heard that I have “moved” …and have been “celebrating” that around half-a-million folk have dropped into the ole blog (shirously, guys…you have to get a life)!

OK – this post has been one of the favourite “hits” for many of you…and, as part of my 500K celebrations, I decided it needed a “re-boot”…so this is what you get!

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Best way to be BORING (Voltaire quote)

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Did you KNOW that:

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  • 65% of conference attendees believe they LEARN nothing from plenary sessions…
  • 55% of conference attendees prefer the coffee breaks to the break-out sessions they attend…
  • 45% of conference attendees “sneak” off to do a bit of sight-seeing…or shopping…(!)

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Did you also know that 33% of statistics are made up on the spot!

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OK, OK – my conference “stats” may lack a bit of reliability…but it’s true – we EDUcators do not do our best LEARNing at conferences!

I lke boring things (Warhol quote)

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Neyse…. to something totally different!

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I have done a great deal of interviewing in my time (karma…previous lives poorly lived, no doubt) – but one interviewee still stands out for me…nearly 13 years after the fact.

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I had probably interviewed around 15 candidates on the day I met him – and I was bored to death by people telling me what a great team-player they were…how flexible they could be in difficult situations…and, how they were really “interested” in all our “strategic initiatives” (that weren’t even on the website)!

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He popped in (with no tie, I must add) – the “balls” on the guy…and I decided to ask him (first question – right in):

“Tell me why you are a great TEACHer…”!

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His response:

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Not sure I am that great…I’m good…but I’m good because I LEARN faster than most, I work harder at reflecting than most and I like doing “it” with other TEACHers…

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OK – I had to hold back a “giggle” with that last comment (but “humour” is what we look for, too). 

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I gave him the job!

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TEACHers learn best by REFLECTing:

Classroom reflection (FQs for TEACHers) TG Ver 03

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And, they do “it” best with OTHER TEACHers!

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A TEACHer’s level of “reflective savvy” is essentially the product of “who they are“; their level of critical literacy, their level of LEARNacy and their level of emotional literacy.

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This savvy is critical for the level of EDUcational Literacy that a teacher has – the GOOD news – it is “LEARNable”! And, LEARNable by just doing “it”.

OK – I really have to stop that…

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I have to admit…developing your reflective savvy does take time (maybe, it never really stops).

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It’s about asking the “right” questionsagain and again. Taking the time tostep back and weigh up what’s really happening around you…within you…as a LEARNing professional.

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It’s about working towards greater clarity and understanding – by being “honest“.

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BUT, most importantly – it’s about taking ACTION – and ACTION that leads to “improvements” in what you KNOW, what you DO and WHO YOU ARE as an EDUcator.

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Many educators do this by asking questions about TEACHing:

These are “great” questions – but are they enough?

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We all know that there is a huge difference between asking questions about TEACHing and asking others about LEARNing:

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In fact, we can take the same 3 questions and apply them to LEARNing:

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If you want…we can even push that boat out a little further…just a little, mind:

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WHAT the HELL….in for a pound, in for a penny; Let’s take those THREE little questions and think about:

  • CURRICULUM
  • ASSESSMENT (and, TESTING – of course)
  • EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  • QUALITY
  • …the CONFERENCE BUDGET (and how we can spend that money so much more wisely)!

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Hey, here’s a whacky idea  – …speak to your HoD and ask her to cancel the “boring administration meeting” she had planned for you all this week!

Get a cup o’ çay (and a biscuit) with your friends…take the time to “sit” and “chat“…and REFLECT!

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Einstein and CPD

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GO ON…do “it” with another TEACHer today

…you know you’ll have fun!

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LEARNer Motivation …the best kept SECRET… “EVER”!

In Adult Learners, Classroom Teaching, ELT and ELL, Teacher Learning on 09/06/2013 at 4:16 pm

The SECRET (logo 01)

I’m guessing “this”… is why you have dropped into the ole blog today, ehh?

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I’m assuming, for a start, you have not come here…for:

The SECRET (Victoria)

…BUT, then again!

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Rather…”motivated” by my little tease of a blog post title, you are after…

The SECRET (logo 02)

…of motivating your students…your LEARNers!

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Are you sure…? I have been doing a lot of this business lately – you know:

Truth (mini ver 02)

You know what they say about “getting” what you “wish” for…

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The thing is…with this one, I might end up having to agree with Jack Nicholson:

Handle the truth

…I really do!

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I mean…what happens, if you are disappointed by:

The SECRET (logo 02)

After all…all that glitters is not gold, my friends!

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When you hear it…you might just thunk:

The SECRET (Expletive)

…and never come back to the blog…EVER!

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I wouldn’t want that to happen…I care about you all too deeply for that!

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I don’t know…don’t know what to do…really don’t…

Gamification 08 (exploding head upgrade)Let me sleep on it…then, I’ll decide!

For the Times…they are a-Changin’ (…still)!

In Adult Learners, Our Universities, Technology, The Paradigm Debate on 27/05/2013 at 10:28 am

Higher Education (Moe quote)

BUT, we do have a great many  “best practices”  because of this tradition…

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This was one of my very first blog posts (back in February 2011) – way before I rediscovered my love of visual literacy (that’s why it has no images)!

I have had an ‘upgrade’ (or follow-up post) on me to-do-list for some time – but just wondered if the post has stood up to the ‘test of time’. I think it has…but looks better with a few images (and a few ‘red-hot’ links)…what do you thunk?

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Dodo and change (Schleicher quote)

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A great example of the traditions Moe was talking about is the traditional “course-credit model” (developed circa 1890). Educational “bean-counters” love it as it allows them to calculate a cumulative GPA.

The fact that it tells us (and, more importantly, studentsnothing (really NOTHING!) about the conceptual development of LEARNers, the growth of intellectual abilities or the quality of LEARNing that takes place over time – is conveniently ignored.

Exploding Head (new ver)

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The other thing I have often wondered is why – across just about every country on the planet (probably on a couple of others, too) – all lectures and classes seem to be around the same length (45-55 minutes). And, why so many different disciplines, so many specialisations, so many programmes – can have roughly the same number of lectures in a given semester.

Trust me – I’ve asked people these questions over and over.

Noone has been able to give me an answer – apart from “That’s just the way it is”….

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Maybe, I’m a bit thick!

Shhot yourself in the head

Maybe, the university (we know and love) has a wee design flaw!

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Here’s another one…why do we train PhD candidates only to do research, when we know most of them will be hired to “teach” our kids.

Teaching people “how to teach” (or at least helping them “understand how people learn”) would seem like a pretty good idea for say, a lecturer, yes?

Learning and Teaching (Cicero quote)

And, far superior to allowing university teaching practices to be built on “folklore” about what works in teaching and LEARNing…

…and certainly a lot better than lecturers simply “doing business” the way their own teachers taught them.

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Hey, I get the idea that the Academe, for many, exists for the purpose of the unfettered pursuit of truth and excellence through scholarship and research – I do, and I am also a fan of research (seriously)!

Expert Brains

I also get that it is only the opportunity to do research, and earn esteem from fellow researchers, that compensates for relatively poor salaries, and motivates talent to enter the academic profession.

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But, I have just had to prepare a citation for an article I’m doing right now and it had TWELVE authors – meaning they all wrote about 400 words each (about the same number of words I have written up to this point for this blog post).

And, I know that all of these “esteemed publishers” will see very little professional advancement within the Academe as a result of their “teaching” (or “public service”).

Why so serious (inscription)

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…it all does not seem “right” somehow

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Yeah, yeah…Tony’s needs to blow off some steam and have a rant! But it’s not just me that thinks that the Academe’s obsession with research might, just a teeny-weeny bit, be getting in the way of student LEARNing.

Lauren Pope, writing in 2006, offered this advice to parents and kids getting ready for college:

…for the undergraduate, the Ivies and their clones are scams. In those universities, you will be ignored. There are no rewards for teaching, so professors, famous or not, do little or none of it. If they do, you’ll only ever see them behind a lectern. In many of these schools you will never write a paper. Nearly half of your enormous classes will be taught by part-timers, many of whom can barely speak English.

And he was talking about the best universities on the planet.

Harvard (Eliot quote)

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Guy Claxton also points out – this time talking about the UK:

As things stand, less than half of all young people go on to university, and many of those who do, now endure an assembly-line experience at least as passive and depersonalised as school.

Truth (mini ver 01)

I’m guessing more than a few lecturers would also agree with both Pope and Claxtonand me, too!

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I know the Ivies, the Golden Triangle colleges of the UK and all the schools scrambling to get into the T.H.E’s Top 100 Universities List will come back with tales about the quality of their teacher-researchers and the wide range of citations their staff have been amassing this year (more often than not because they have been sending their “teaching assistants” into undergraduate classes so they can “publish”).

Lies (people and stats)

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But, when we look through “the smoke and the mirrors” we see that the rankings are phoney, are easily manipulated and that many of the claims we hear are, in reality, nothing more than academic slight-of-hand.

As Pope notes again:

These damaging things are compiled by statisticians who can only measure input factors, many of which are totally irrelevant to education. They know nothing about what happens to young minds and souls in the four years of college. Some anonymous Canadian has said the American way of judging the quality of college by the grades and scores of the freshmen it selects is like judging the quality of a hospital by the health of the patients it admits. What happens during the stay is what counts.

Trust me – it is not only America and the UK that plays these games – try every country on the planet!

Canım EXAMOCRACY

Some of the best Turkish universities play the game, too – and are getting very good at it.

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Those of us who love (or have “adopted” – as home) Turkey all know, deep down in our hearts (and because the World Bank tells us), that most public universities in Turkey have been developed as though they are or will be “research universities” (whatever that really means). This is despite the fact that the level of research is low at most institutions and the post-graduate population remains tiny – this is even true of the newer, more dynamic foundation (private) universities.

Granted there are a few “stars” in the Turkish Academe – but many other members of the Academe remain “little more than secondary schools” (Mızıkacı).

Lise 5

and ‘6’…and ‘7’…and ‘8’…and…

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And, we know that our schools are doing little more than socialising Turkish children into the “ways of the examocracy” – while doing really well as “supply schools” for the “Dershane Culture”.

BUT, he says again, it all does not seem “right” somehow

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Wouldn’t it be süper if the Academe could respond to a few of these issues – with more than “a bun-fight” any time we put them on the table?

Wouldn’t it be great if more of them committed to:

  • Making a difference in student lives by putting learning at the heart of what they do,
  • Promoting real learning by community building, purposeful engagement and encouragement of risk-taking on the part of all students and staff, and
  • Providing choice, widening interdisciplinary collaboration, and making sure they produce meaningful “value added” in every single student.

And then, did something about it.

Walk your talk

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Wait a minute!

There are some people who are breaking the rules – perhaps a bit of competition might be the “nudge” the Academe has been waiting for:

Risk-taking (quotes)

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KSRF’s Virtual University, the oldest learning community on the web, was set up in 1995 and brings together academics, professionals and practitioners to co-create the type of learning that has made happy customers out of their three million plus “students”.

Anyone can sign up for courses, teach their own course (or co-teach with others around the world), act as a learning mentor, and share-share-share…As well as leading the charge to promote “collaboration” over “competition” in the world of learning – they offer the kind of programmes people want and need – as well as ensuring that they offer learning experiences designed to produce educated, responsible and employable “graduates”.

The Khan Academy created quite a “storm” when it opened its “portal” in 2006. It is rumoured that the Academe put a “hit” on its creator – and he was only saved by the intervention of Bill Gates!Sal Khan, an ex-financial analyst (who did not have a PhD and had never taught), began delivering lectures from his “bedroom waredrobe” – and quickly became the most popular educator on YouTube.

Gates now describes him as “my favourite teacher”!

His motivation – “to deliver things the way I wish they were delivered to me”. In a way, his Academy is something of a “one-man protest” against what he sees as a “flawed educational system” – and in doing so he openly challenged the long-standing assumption that professional academics make the best teachers.

They do not. 

That “Oscar” goes to primary and ELT teachers!

It would be fair of you to ask – Is he the best teacher you are ever likely to see?

No.

But…..he is realhuman and flawed – and his students love him. They love learning with and next to him – why he even lets his students “correct” him and help him out!

They are engaged and passionate – half the battle.

BTW – his newer (2010 and 2011) videos are so much better. The other news is that he may be running for President soon – his campaign posters are ready!

Alain de Botton opened his School of Life in a little “shop”, just off Russell Square in London, some time back.

By all accounts he and his partners are doing pretty “brisk business”.

He has done this by working to create a new kind of “social enterprise” and you can pop in to take courses and attend lectures on all “things that matter” in life – relationshipsdeathworkchangeasking questionsthe future.

Their goal of producing learners ready, able and willing to leave their communities in better shape than they find them today is one we can relate to.

Besides…Aren’t all universities supposed to be “schools of life” and help students learn about this stuff?

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The Academe we have today, and its various sub-groups around the globe, was a “product of conscious design”.

Over time it has been reconstituted and upgraded – the last of these major upgrades took place over a hundred years ago and was engineered to rationalise the process of discovery (and created the discrete research disciplines we all know and love today).

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the PROBLEM (obs)

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The Academe still sees undergraduate learning as a secondary by-product of this knowledge creation – and by all accounts is still not delivering on its promises.

It is time for “real change” – Bob Dylan explains why:

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Dylan (a changin)

 

For our “sevgili inekler” (who tell me off for not citing my sources):

  • Anderson, C. W. (1993). Prescribing the life of the mind: an essay on the purpose of the university, the aims of liberal education, the competence of citizens, and the cultivation of practical reason. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Claxton, G. (2008). What’s the point of school? Oxford: Oneworld
  • Mızıkacı, F. (2006). Higher education in Turkey. UNESCO-CEPES. Monographs on Higher Education. UNESCO, Bucharest
  • Pope, L (2006). Colleges that change lives. (New York, Penguin)
  • Schleicher, A. (2006). The Economics of knowledge: Why education is key to Europe’s success. Lisbon Council Policy Brief, Vol. 1, No. 1 (2006). ISSN 2031-0943