I worked on this post on and off today when things were printing, or I was sitting waiting for the board meeting to start. I need to finish now that the meeting is getting started… the board has been doing some hard work with only 7 of them. They have a tough job I guess.
George Siemens from his “Connectivism Blog” entry “Pedagogy First? Whatever.” notes something that won’t startle most of you folks settling into any kind of curriculum review or technology education planning. He writes:
“In dealing with faculty and instructional designers, a series of almost default phrases are vocalized once technology is mentioned: “We need to start with pedagogy”…”It’s pedagogy first”. Or, whenever I’m in a meeting and someone says “pedagogy first”, the apparently genetic instinct to nod viciously is enacted by everyone around the table. “Yes, that is right. We need to have priorities here. Let’s tame technology and focus instead on what we already know and are comfortable with. Let’s ensure that technology does not get away from the tried and true method of containing innovation and new approaches.”
It would not be a huge surprise to note this is a commonly used phrase and I will admit that I must have that genetic response as well. In many ways it makes sense.. COMMON SENSE. But let’s dig a little deeper.
How much we develop our classrooms really is starting to depend on how far we stretch the pedagogy. Teachers teach. Student learn. Or…. perhaps student create, and build and… teach? “Sound pedagogy” ideals are being stretched and even changed in practice as we push students to create their own learning environments and drafting, editing, developing and publishing their work for review by their peers, by their parents, and ultimately by an educator trained in solid assessments methods. The leap must be from the common practice, or the “sound practice” to a more innovative, thoughtful use of contemporary tools, with contemporary teaching methods– as Seimens says– look at the context. When we turn that idea into “sound pedagogy, we will find our schools moving off the spot.
So…. COMMON SENSE would tell you that we want our students to be motivated and encouraged by the learning we present. In order for us to do this in a more effective way… one that will meet the needs of our changing student population, we must focus on the contextual nature of all of our work of educating teachers.
I’m not able to attend this workshop, but this might be a place where a motivated educator can explore these thoughts more. Check out the conference “Constructing Modern Knowledge 2008”.