How I see what I do today

I – Preamble

I am a philosopher by training, and perhaps my understanding of what I do sounds a bit grandiose because of this…

Philosophers are supposed to be focused on analyzing, reflecting, knowing instead of acting. Karl Marx once said that philosophers have analyzed the world, but it is necessary to change it…

I don’t doubt it is necessary to change the world – and I consider education a powerful way of doing it.

But for this to happen, education must be action-oriented.

In this vein, I agree with an English philosopher – Herbert Spencer, 1820-1903 – who said:

“The great aim of education is not knowledge but action”

This assertion is not meant to deny that analysis, reflection, and knowledge ought to precede action…

II – What I do (in more general aspects)

I see myself in the business of rethinking education and reinventing schooling, something I consider necessary because of fundamental changes in the context in which we live.

1. Rethinking education involves mostly:

      • Listing and integrating (systematizing) the changes in the context
      • Showing why these changes force us to rethink education and reinvent schooling
      • Show in which direction education and learning ought to be reconceptualized

2. Reinventing schooling involves creating a model that deals with:

      • Proposing a pedagogical vision (curriculum, methodology, assessment) and ways of implementing it
      • Redefining the kind of professionals that are able to implement this vision and how they are prepared
      • Identifying / creating materials, resources and tools
III – What I do (more specifically)

More precisely, I have concentrated my attention mostly on the first sub-item of item 2 and have been working on:

1. Curriculum:

      • What is there to be learned? Curriculum as a set of learning expectations / What "learnings" are of most worth
      • Focus on capacities / competencies / skills >>> what people ought to be able to do (know-how, savoir-faire)
      • Not only 21st-Century Skills, much less Digital Skills, but every sort of basic competency (some of which have been valued for a long time…)

2. Methodology:

      • How are competencies developed? What is the best way for people to acquire / build competencies?
      • Focus on how people learn best
      • Active, Interactive, Collabora(c)tive, Hands-on, Project-based, Contextual (Just in Time), Modular (Just-Enough)

3. Assessment:

      • How to assess the development of competencies?
      • Clearly define them operationally
      • Specify evidence / indicators of their presence / mastery / development
      • Observe, interact, challenge to see if these evidences are present

Em Londres, 17 de Janeiro de 2010

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