An audience with...

Steve Wheeler, Journal on Efficiency and Responsibility in Education and Science, May 13, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

As Steve Wheeler suggests, "John Dewey advocated 'learning by doing' and Seymour Papert called it 'learning by making'." Along with many others, I also advocate this approach to learning (it's half my unheralded 'Downes Learning Theory', "to learn is to practice and reflect" (which, I hasten to add, is completely unoriginal to me)). So he develops programs encouraging students to write for an audience (similar to what I described in my 2004 paper Educational Blogging). All great. But then he writes about encouraging his BA student to present his work, and "he presented in front of almost 100 people, by far the largest audience he had spoken in front of at that time." That struck me as surprising. Part of my childhood education (in a rural public school in Metcalf, Ontario) was writing my opwn speeches and presenting them. Everybody did this; we were expected to be able to speak coherently and think on our feet in public. Practice and reflection. Good at any age. Younger ages, especially.

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