07 July 2011

On---I'm exasperated about silly arguments!

This one is about pedagogy vs. andragogy. If you need primary sources; See here and here.

I have been teaching for forty+ years (whether my students have been learning for the same period is of course contestable).

I have never yet encountered any exclusively behavioural learning (even with our wonderful Westies) or "cognitive" or "humanistic" or any other label.

And as for pedagogy versus andragogy... It's a spurious distinction whose primary achievement was to raise the profile of Malcolm Knowles. But read his piece here. Is that about treating people as grown-ups?

What these theorists never (OK! rarely) discuss is what is being learned. You want to learn a foreign language? At some point you are going to have to memorise a lot of vocabulary. You want to throw pots or improve your tennis? You need to practise, and there are people who can do it much better than you and you would be stupid to ignore their advice. You want to study political philosophy (OK, this is the most difficult)? Most people, of course, don't study it. They go straight to teaching it in the saloon bar... But...

And that is to say nothing about STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), where it is self-evident that there is an enormous (and growing) body of knowledge into which you must be inducted before you can make any contribution.

As I complain here, andragogy is not an approach to teaching--it's a brand. And one which gets in the way of making appropriate decisions about how to teach a particular subject/topic/skills to a particular group of learners.

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