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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Flawed Assumptions

Joanne Jacobs, Weblog, Mar 03, 2009

Joanne Jacobs offers some straw man formulations of three "flawed assumptions' currently being flayed in yet another politically motivated discussion hosted by the ever-reliable Britannica blog. Who really believes that knowledge and skills are separate, that teachers have no cognitive limits, or that experience is equivalent to practice? Nobody. Each of these three formulations serves to misrepresents actual positions held by educators that do stand up to scrutiny: that knowledge depends on critical thinking skills (not the other way around), that teachers address multiple cognitive needs (not just drill and recall), and that self-direction does not entail content-free learning. The panel featured Willingham, Ravitch and Hirsch all against a patsy - call me when they debate these issues against a real opponent.

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