Ten Theses In Support of Teaching and Against Learning Outcomes

Jeff Noonan, Interventions, Evocations, Aug 07, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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I'm generally sympathetic with the objectives of this post but less so with how it is presented. The main point, that "Teaching at the university level is not a practice of communicating or transferring information but awakening in students a desire to think by revealing to them the questionability of things," is the least well supported assertion in the piece, though it is probably the most contentious. Nonetheless, I agree with it. The move to make "a desire to think" over into a "love of thinking" is to me a bit questionable. But we agree that "this result is very different from mastering a certain body of knowledge or learning to apply certain rules to well-defined situations." As Noonan begins to trace the consequences of this position we finally encounter a series of references supporting his point. Alas, too little too late. Don't skip the comments, a good discussion dating from last March. Also there's an annotated version on hypothes.is, a defense of learning outcomes against Noonan here, and a good (though very critical) discussion here.

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