On Learning and Common Sense

Will Richardson, Oct 12, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

One thing a lifetime working as a philosopher has taught me is that advances in thinking are truly incrental. Even the greatest thinkers - Descartes, Hume, Kant, Wittgenstein - advanced the state of the art only a few inches. So I'm not at all surprised to see so many of the 'new' ideas of today reflected in writers from the past. In the present case, as outlined by Will Richardson, it's Carl Rogers, who though "best known as a psychotherapist who championed 'client-centered therapy,' was also a vocal advocate for one of today’s most prevalent edu phrases, 'student-centered learning.'" Some of what he wrote would fit perfectly in a contemporary blog post. For example: "Learning is facilitated when the student participates responsibly in the learning process. When he chooses his own directions, helps to discover his own learning resources, formulates his own problems, decides his own course of action, lives with the consequences of these choices, then significant learning is maximized." 

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