A course today is an act of composition, of the drawing together of thoughts through the use of tools to create — birth, deliver, discover, startle — not an artifact of learning, like a paper or final exam, but a use.
Students are oppressed because teachers are power. Teachers are the absolute in the classroom. They know all, they do all, they are omniscient and omnipresent, and they can do no wrong. But critical inquiry in the classroom is just saying, “They don’t. They don’t know everything.” They’re an expert on maybe one thing, but not on everything. They’re a learner as much as I am.
Students can’t be the problem, unless they’ve always been the problem. And if they’ve always been the problem, perhaps we should reconsider the whole endeavor. It is for them, after all. But really, at some point, we need to stop blaming students for the state of education. If, after so many years of controlling student behavior, analyzing their data to understand and curtail that behavior, we are still unhappy with their performance, perhaps it’s time we turn education over to them. Perhaps it’s time we made them our colleagues.
It’s pretty disrespectful to talk about “coddling” adults. It’s disrespectful to talk about “coddling” children. Learners are humans with agency, and to assume that it’s “coddling” to make room for the trauma someone suffered is to both make light of that trauma and to overlook the fact that they survived it.
“It’s not about the technology, it’s about teaching and learning,” Richard Edwards proclaimed with no little insistence during his keynote at the 2015 ITC conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. He spoke about the “Cover of Wired Magazine” syndrome which leads us to believe that new equals better and new equals necessary, and that by bringing technology to bear upon learning, learning will flourish.