Cave Man Didn't Have Classrooms

Roger Schank, The Pulse, Oct 03, 2007
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article is mostly just entertaining speculation about the way cave man children were taught. But the second-last paragraph really bothers me. "The cave man was probably not conscious," writes Schank, making a sudden right turn. "If we teach to the conscious, if we say how to do something, or worse teach the theory of how something works, rather than show how to do something, we lose the student because his mind does not work that way. If experience is separated from knowledge, if what we teach is not about doing at all, then we teaching to the conscious." This can't be right. Experience is conscious, isn't it? 'Conscious learning' is reflectively aware learning, and is a good thing. I can see the point, that we shouldn't merely use language, that we shouldn't just 'tell' people things. But consciousness is not language, and 'telling' isn't 'teaching to the conscious'.
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