Tuesday, 1 April 2008

I came across and interesting post by Dean Shareski comparing the end of religion to the end of school. Basically, he links the structures and rules of religion, which, according to Bruxy Cavey will turn religion obsolete, to the structure and rules of school. This got me thinking about the need for schools as they currently exist. Many thinkers, such as Stephen Downes, have been talking about deschooling for a long time, and it’s difficult not to agree with a lot of what they say. However, what would deschooling cause in developing countries? What effects would children and adults suffer if, instead of going to the existing schools, they were given the chance to decide what, when and where to study. Let’s considering of course they had access to web 2.0 technologies, adequate bandwidth and all the necessary support. What would be our roles as educators? How would we promote self-directedness in a teaching/learning culture where students are still so used to being told what to think and do? Who would replace the schools’ role in promoting tolerance to difference among young people? Would these people become too individualistic? Food for thought…


Dean Shareski said...

My interpretation of de-schooling might be different from Stephen's. I don't believe we need to get rid of schools entirely. I just think many of the structures and traditions of schools interfere with its true goal of learning.

One simple example is time tables. Why should learning be boxed into 40 or 60 minute blocks? To me that creates unauthentic learning environments. I could go on with other examples as I'm sure almost everyone could. The point is that sometimes we get so fixated on these structures and forget why schools exist.

Downes said...

Deschooling does not mean leaving students without resources or supports.

Rather, it's a way of designing a school system such that the emphasis is not on obedience and control, but rather, on empowerment and self-reliance.

One would suspect such an approach would be ideally suited to developing nations.