I have been a contributor to a discussion about the role of teachers, styles of teaching and accountability on another bloggerâ€™s blog this past week. It is unfortunate that the discussion became just another example of how discourse has become contentious and too often therefore meaningless and non-productive.
In this case a few that contributed comments late in the discussion misrepresented themselves as just wanting clarification on sentiments that were voiced. These contributors never identified themselves as having an agenda or the fact that they support a specific program for teaching. The comments they posted became condescending and shrill. Eventually the blogger was fed up with their use of his blog to push their agenda and attitudes and he attempted to cut them off. Next they used their blog to name call, bully and smear – and encouraged others to do the same.
This so obviously mirrors what is going on, mainly in politics, but increasingly also into daily discourse on many subjects these days about not having real discussion – but instead a tendency to attack and bully if someone doesnâ€™t agree or shift their opinion to yours. This has dark implications in my opinion for fruitful discussion about important topics â€“ for me as a teacher of course, discussion that could lead to meaningful changes and attitudes about what it means to teach and learn.
“It seems to me that one thing educational theory has been unable to address is the possibility of multiple theoretical perspectives, the possibility that there is no one taxonomy, set of standards, methodology, etc., that will define The Way to do education.
Certainly, any approach to learning theory that suggests that an experiment can be conducted in (say) a double-blind model in order to test hypotheses in terms of (say) achievement of learning outcomes in my view demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of the enquiry.
We need to move beyond consensus, beyond sameness.”
Learning is messy.