Week 1

Activity 1.1:

Autonomous and Social?
Education has killed any curiosity and any opportunity of self-determined learning (I found reading about heutagogy this week particularly enlightening! 
http://heutagogycop.wordpress.com/history-of-heutagogy/).
We have a hard job in front of us and we will probably never see the education system reformed in such a way that it restores student motivation to learn just because they want to (they want to be a doctor a teacher or an engineer, they want to know about literature or science or whatever it is that they WANT) and not to pass an exam and get a piece of paper that says that they are a doctor or a teacher or an engineer, that they know about literature or science or whatever they have pass their exams for.

My focus has now shifted from the technology and how we use it towards students’ roles and attitudes.I tried flipping the classroom and like “mchaudhry” had mixed results. I also tried directed study tasks but I’m sorry to report that they were a lot of work to prepare for little results if any. You can argue that maybe the tasks weren’t well prepared and that was certainly my first reaction. I was so disappointed that I slowly and reluctantly started reversing to “normal” teaching, the teaching that I knew worked before I tried these new “methods”.

But I’m in this MOOC because I haven’t given up! I know in my heart that my intentions were good. I was just missing a piece of the puzzle and I think I have found it!!! HEUTAGOGY is the magic word for me! The study of self-determined learning. All this time I was assuming that my students were curious, self-directed, autonomous learners and I still think that there is a potential for them to be so. However, that’s not the kind of learners that we have encouraged them to be so far. The moment our students (or trainees) enter in any form of formal education (training course, school, university, etc.) they expect objectives and aims to be defined for them and assessment to be set for them to show that they have reach those objectives. Questions like “Is this going to be in the test?” or “How many words do I need to write to pass this assignment?” are testament to this.
Things will not change overnight, but now my focus will be on how to define those aims and objectives for my courses so I can help my students start the shift towards self-determined learning.

Activity 1.2

After this week’s reading I am starting to reflect on the concept of Heutagogy (http://heutagogycop.wordpress.com/history-of-heutagogy/).
It’s early days for me, but I have the feeling that I none of the methods we are using at the moment is the answer, at least not in their present form.
We have:
“learners TAKING PART in their own learning”
“peer learning”
“community learning”
“learners with a critical consciousness”
I think all of these methods are missing an important piece: “learner’s self determination”. Unless the learner “wants” to know, there is no method and no planning from the instructor’s part that will achieve the learning goals.
Do our students want to know? Or they just want to pass the course?

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