Learning vs. Schooling LO29261

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@postino.up.ac.za)
Date: 10/04/02

Replying to LO29250 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl> writes:

>Teaching learning is teaching the impossible, to paraphrase
>Kurt Vonnegut.

Greetings dear Jan,

You are right in the sense that a teacher cannot teach that which the
teacher does not know self. But it is different for a teacher who made and
is still making a thorough study of the act of learning in an person and
in a group of persons. I think we have no greater example than the one set
by Socrates.

>Schools are fine institutions, as long as you remember that
>people learn despite schooling. Most people learn from their
>peers. And - in my view - the most important things are not
>formally taught on schools. You'll learn a the form - language,
>maths, art, science - of the basic disciplines, but not the content.
>This is because most teachers can not establish the required
>feedback for teaching the content, mainly because the groups
>are to big. So schools usually focus on traditions, they are part
>of tradition.

As for the size of a class of pupils, i agree with you that they are far
too big. I myself always felt uncomfortable with a class having more than
15 learners, knowing that i could not pay attention to every learners as i
would want to do. Giving learners immediate feedback on their learning is
vital to their progress.

As for the form of the disciplines rather than the content, it depends on
the teacher togther with many other factors such as the ethos of the
school and the size of the class. Teachers who know the difference between
knowledge and information as well as the difference between creative and
mechanistic learning make a vast difference in the school.

Fellow learners may have a look at the following historical documents
which tell how thinkers felt about learning, knowledge and education
through the ages.

The first document is the play "Phaedo" written by Plato (360BC) The scene
is the prison of Socrates on the day when he had to drink the poisoned
 < http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/plato-phaedo.txt >
Halfway through the play Socrates warns againts the following danger:
   "The danger of becoming misologists which is one of the
    very worst things that can happen to us. For as there are
    misanthropists or haters of men, there are also misologists
    or haters of ideas, and both spring from the same cause,
    which is ignorance of the world."
That warning still holds after 23 centuries.

Quintilian: The Ideal Education, c. 90 AC
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/quintilian-education.html >

Einhard: Life of Charlemagne
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/einhard1.html >

Charlemagne: Letter to Baugaulf of Fulda, c.780-800
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/carol-baugulf.html >

Ibn Rushd (AverroŽs): Religion & Philosophy, c. 1190
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/1190averroes.html >

Accounts of Medieval Literacy and Education, c. 1090-1530
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/medieval-memory.html >

Petrus Paulus Vergerius: The New Education (c. 1400)
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/vergerius.html >

Wang Yang-Ming: Letters, learning practice
(from The Philosophy, c. 1525)
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/wangyang1.html >

John Locke: Some Thoughts Concerning Education, 1692
< http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1692locke-education.html >

>Please feel free to disagree,

The above documents will give an indication how complex the issue
is. For myself it is far more important to comprehend the complexity
rather than to disagree on parts of the complexity.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@postino.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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