Soul Murder (revisiting EDUCATION)

M. Wesch is at it again. His latest blog post revisits his video A Vision of Students Today and the inadequacy of the current education system. He calls it soul murder, referring to this book.

Wesch nails it right on the head when he explains that our education system, rooms included, is designed for a world in which information is scarce.

In this world, the teacher is the provider of information.

This is not the world we live in anymore.

The problem in our world is not access to information: It is access to too much information. Education should solve a new set of problems.

I don’t have THE answer – neither does Wesch, though he’s much closer to it than I am. But I can’t help but think about it most of the time. Here are some thoughts about what education should do to serve students in this day and age:

If the teacher is no longer the provider of information, maybe the teacher should be a guide to (parts of) the information space. A coach.

The teacher’s job becomes (not an exhaustive list):

  • to guide students through advanced, highly targeted search techniques in several (kinds of) information spaces
  • to help students map out the fragmented, multivocal information space; or to provide through schemata for reconciling this pluralirty and fragmentation (postmodernism, anyone?)
  • to help students make judgments about selecting and evaluating information
  • to coach students about synthesizing and organizing these different types of information
  • to teach students the skill of decision making: students should make decisions about the most effective ways to present information – instead of giving them recipes for papers, allow students to make decisions about presenting information
  • to create learning experiences where students use the above techniques to solve real-life problems
  • to adapt teaching style to students’ learning and technology usage styles
  • in short, to coach flexible and nimble thinking, decision making, and adaptable communication/writing skills

What do you think? What are the ways in which the education system is failing? What should education do for students? What should the teacher’s job be?

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3 responses to “Soul Murder (revisiting EDUCATION)”

  1. Amanda Jernigan says :

    I’ve seen this video before, but I can’t remember where! It was shown to me in one of my classes. It’s very thought-provoking. I think your view of the teacher as a coach is right on target. We don’t have the time, considering that we see you twice a week for a grand total of 2.5 hours, for you to talk us through everything you want us to learn. We have to take matters into our own hands. Knowing that you are there as a coach/guide and a constant supporter has made me feel less insecure about experimenting with blogging, Twitter, and other online tools. I know that if I don’t understand something or am confused, you’re only an e-mail or Tweet away!
    I loved the section of Dr. Wesch’s post that addresses how students tend to just “get by” and that students are so alienated by education that they see it as something to sneak right past. I’ve always thought of these students as the ones who don’t really care if they take anything away from the course at the end of the semester. It doesn’t matter to them if they retain anything they learned, as long as they remembered the information for the test. As college students, we have an opportunity to learn so much. Why not take advantage of it? The best teachers I have ever had have inspired me to learn and succeed. They have made me want to see the world, experience all that I can, and learn as much as possible. I think that they have succeeded in doing this by bringing something new to the classroom. The whole “read to the class from the book while they take notes” thing just doesn’t always cut it. By addressing the world we live in, the ways we view the world, and bringing new ideas into the classroom, I think you have done an excellent job of inspiring us to learn and experience things for ourselves.

  2. M. Anderson says :

    Thanks for linking me to Dr. Wesch’s post. It was one of the best education-related articles/posts/etc. that I have ever read.

    I like the coach analogy. I think you are on the right path. I’t has me thinking of a security guard/ tour guide at a museum. Rather than being the gatekeeper- controlling what information students are given, perhaps educators should be the tour guides walking students through all that is out there and highlighting what is important.

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