Pedagogy v. Andragogy

Take a look at this chart shared by Marc Ecko during his presentation at the #140edu Conference on Tuesday.

His point here, one among many that came through during his ten minutes, was that we are missing the mark with our conversations about learning and education reform in the United States.  We are talking about teaching, and not necessarily about learning.

Granted, the conversation needs to be much larger than the short time frame he was given, and I hope it will be, but the descriptors in the chart really stirred me to think about some things.

As much as this is a system-wide issue, I truly believe its more of an elementary/primary issue.  What I mean by that is exemplified in the last box under pedagogy:

Students arrive at high schools, even middle schools driven by the idea that the sole reason they are in school, for the most part, is the process of getting good grades thereby getting into a good college and ensuring a quality life.  By the time they reach middle and high school with those motivating factors, breaking that idea apart is very difficult.  Re-structuring the nature of learning and its motivations at the elementary level is key to any change being implemented going forward.

At one point, Jack Hidary described a student interview his group did where a student described school as a place where:

“they feel like they are being transported back to a time when their parents went to school–”you shall learn as we shall learn–” so that they understand what school was like for their parents”

And later in the day, Dale Stephens, founder of the UnCollege Movement, talked about “Majoring in Life” rather than the protracted process of getting into and going to colleges we can’t afford.  In my house, we often talk about what school will mean to our kids as they get older, and what role it will play in their adult lives.  For my wife and I, both educators, it has played a huge role in shaping who we are and how we approach the world.  But for our kids, when what I see happening in schools often is so steeped in ideas that don’t work well anymore, I wonder.

And sometimes I think I don’t wonder loudly enough.

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3 thoughts on “Pedagogy v. Andragogy

  1. I feel that school (the teaching and learning that goes on within those walls) is a standard for life. Within them, people can and are able to be exposed to many different styles of learning, as well as about life. I do think that we as teachers are given the unenviable task of trying to teach students who do not want to be there and parents who do not care about education and we are stuck in the middle. What really bothers me is when someone says that kids need to find themselves and that rules do not matter. Yes I agree that we all need to find what we as individuals like, but rules are what make our society a safe and secure way to live. Letting kids do what they want without consequences means that we are failing to prepare them for life outside of the school and it turn doing a disservice to prepare them for thefuture.

  2. Dwight,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment here. One question: what if the rules are arbitrary and make little sense, or worse, actually hinder the process of learning?

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