What’s wrong with teaching

Traditional education focuses on teaching, not learning. But the objective of education should be learning, not teaching. There is currently too much emphasis on the ‘what’ of learning and not on the ‘how’ and what’s being taught is fundamentally flawed. As Russell L. Ackoff and Daniel Greenberg say in Turning Learning Right Side Up: Putting Education Back on Track, ‘memorization is mistaken for learning’. Students are continually taught about a subject rather than to use their knowledge of that subject to accomplish things.

Why does this happen? Well, teachers can only pass on to their students their own experience so if their learning experience as teachers in teacher traning has been listening to lectures about communicative teaching and reproducing the knowledge thus imparted, they in turn can only impart information about their subject when they teach, rather than teaching the competencies of using their subject be it language, maths, code, etc.

This problem has been recognized and addressed using a model of competencies rather than knowledge:

Key competencies:

  • ability to express and interpret concepts, thoughts, feelings, facts and opinions
  • the ability to develop and apply mathematical thinking in order to solve a range of problems in everyday situations, with the emphasis being placed on process, activity and knowledge
  • the confident and critical use of information society technology
  • the ability to pursue and organise one’s own learning,
  • personal, interpersonal and intercultural competence and all forms of behaviour that equip individuals to participate in an effective and constructive way in social and working life
  • the ability to turn ideas into action

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