Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
Sometimes I wonder whether I'm right in my approach, philosophy and priorities when it comes to learning, and then out of the blue comes a well-respected source that confirms and crystalizes my thoughts on the issue. Hence, from Louis Schmier:

"Too many academics, ignoring the conclusions of Carl Rogers and Edward Deci and Teresa Amabile, if we know who they are and are familiar with their work, think we can "do" something to a student. That is, we can motivate or we can teach. And, too many of us believe we can do it by the pressure of enticement or threat, and control. We crack down, impose stringent discipline, lure and entice with bonuses, make students buckle down, threaten, and force students to behave through reward and punish with grades. Extra credit here, a point taken off a grade there. It doesn't work. We know it doesn't work...."

"The solution to these three problems is really, then, a matter of how to transform forced reluctant and fearful compliance into volunteered dedicated and excited commitment. You have to let students learn in a way so that they are in charge of their intellectual, emotional, spiritual, and moral growth.... Students' definition of success, what they really are seeking is not solely focused on getting the grade though they themselves think it is.... They seek self-approval, self-respect, physical and mental well-being, spiritual contentment, self-actualization, and an overall sense of meaning to their lives. In other words, they want a satisfying, meaningful, rewarding, and significant life, not just a grade or an honor or making a living."

Now: return to the art of complex problem solving I linked to yesterday and compare this to that, with the teacher in the role of 'client' and the students in the role of 'implementors'.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Sept 22, 2023 04:55 a.m.

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