Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Both sides in an argument can agree on a misinterpretation of something, if it serves their needs. But this misinterpretation may be blocking a better understanding of the issue in general. Take the concept of 'adult authority', for example. Both sides, writes Alfie Kohn, "share a key premise: Adult authority is necessarily autocratic and power-based. Their disagreement is about whether that’s a good thing." But there are other was to look at adult authority. For example, we can think of it as "the process of understanding ideas is facilitated by being gently challenged to reevaluate one’s assumptions. The teacher offers new possibilities for students to consider, to integrate, perhaps to rebel against." That, for me, is a key lesson of online learning. We can't force people to do things when they're at a distance, so the role of the adult - or the teacher in general - changes. (Also published in Psychology Today, which is where the image came from).

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: May 12, 2021 12:22 p.m.