Hi Phil,
Links to my comments on two colleagues posts can be found at the following urls;



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Post for Module One

With regard to the first scenario in the first module, I believe this scenario goes to the heart of the sixth provocation (What will students want and need from me). My understanding of the scenario is that the two groups of students probably come from differing socio-economic groups. One group, the disinterested and unmotivated group are probably from working class families and the more conscientious group concerned with the right answer are more likely from upper middle class families. In both cases, effective teaching is not happening.
It is clear that the former group is having significant difficulty connecting with either the subject matter or the teacher. It is likely that their idea of the nature and purpose of education is at odds with that of the teacher and the other group of students. If indeed they are from a working class background, they may not value highly theoretical and abstract ideas and concepts as much as they do knowledges leading to the achievement of specific competencies enabling the accomplishment of specific tasks.
In the absence of any more specific information, I would say what we have here are differing ideas about education and what constitutes useful or important knowledge (Kaplan and Owings 2001 pp 165-203). The disengaged group are probably having difficulty engaging because they can’t see the subject matter as having any use to them. The more enthusiastic group in their desire for ‘the right answer’ at the expense of exploring ideas and appreciating them for their own sake, demonstrate a very market-oriented view of education as simply a hoop to jump through in order to qualify for the occupation of their choice. These students see education through a principally liberal individualistic framework (Module A Lecture Notes). In my experience this views facilitates a market view of education as a commodity.
I do not have a ready answer on how I would deal with this scenario in light of my ideas about education and belief in the right of all to quality education (HREOC 2000 p 1). If I were to provide the sort of education I think the disengaged group would like, would I simply be pigeon holing them and perpetuating class disadvantage? Yet how do I encourage them to greater academic accomplishment without disengaging them?
With regards to the more enthusiastic group, am I really educating them by providing them with ‘answers’, telling them what to think rather than how to think? Do I buy into their market-oriented view of education and give them the results they desire in return for telling me what I want to hear?
I think I would begin by being cognisant of both groups right to an education. I also need to decide for myself which theory of education to folllow, the social democratic view or the liberal view.
directly and indirectly educating them about education. I would attempt to show them that the cognitive developments I was trying to encourage will serve them well in any occupation and enrich their lives in non-vocational ways.

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