Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Set the controls for the heart of the sun (Pink Floyd)

I promised a post on Dr Harpaz's ideas on the ideology behind education (and Dr Novak - I haven't forgotten you either - will get there soon). 

[Both were stand out performers at the ulearn14 conference]

So here it is.

The Doctor tells us that there are three mutually exclusive* super aims of education.

*BTW many people at the ulearn14 conference didn't believe this - including Mark Treadwell, although they didn't articulate why.

When education serves the society, its aim is to adapt the students to society by imparting tools – knowledge, skills, habits, behaviors – that will benefit society. When education serves the culture, its aim is to cultivate the character of the students in the light of the values and truths which constitute the preferred culture. When education serves the individual, its aim is to 
enable him/her to fulfill him/herself.  

In the first type of education – socialization – The Educated Person is 
a person who is adapted to her society and directs herself within it successfully. In the second type of education – acculturation – The Educated Person is 
one whose character reflects the values and beliefs of the prevailing culture. In the third type of education – individuation – The educated Person is one 
who realizes her unique personality in her course of life. 

The ideology of socialization comes with the pattern of imparting, which is based on techniques of exemplification and practice; the ideology of acculturation comes with the pattern of molding, which is based on techniques of modeling and attraction; the ideology of individuation comes with the pattern of development, which is based on techniques of enabling and guidance. 

If you're super keen on reading more, the full text of the good doctor's thoughts on the subject are at

At the ulearn conference Dr H held a poll on what ideology we wanted at school and what we have as a default. Individuation was the overwhelming favourite for the former and in the overwhelming minority in the latter (Socialization won out).

The challenge for us in this 21st Googled/Twittered/Facebooked/Teched Up world we live in is choosing what is right for us and our students.

Again, according to Dr H 'Good teaching... involves constant care 
for the logical match between ideology and technology".

To me - individuation's time as (a dominant) ideology has come. I'm not sure, though, if schools can have their socialization cake and eat it up in an individuation way. I sense they can't but they'll try anyway in the special control freak way teachers and administrators have.

I'll be a keen observer and yes, as much of a mover/shaker as I can be, to see if we can free up our socializationistic rules and timetables and enable students to embrace Dr Novak's Universal Design for Learning (coming soon to a post/tweet near you). 

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