The dream of reducing learning to teaching

I was struck by this phrase by Ivan Illich in Deschooling Society, conveying his scepticism of the promise of educational technology in the 1970s. On pg 67 he writes of an “attempt to escalate an old dream into fact, and to finally make all valuable learning the result of professional teaching”. It left me wondering whether the contemporary ed tech bubble can be understood in terms of a dream to reduce learning to the professional: stripping teachers out of the process and replacing them with platforms which facilitate ‘personalised’ learning, analysed and overseen by a cohort of professionals. It would represent what Emmanuel Lazega describes as the final victory of bureaucracy over collegiality, as the agency of teachers which school has long depended on is finally dispensed with so that the logic of schooling can be reduced into the platform and the class of engineers who maintain it.

6 thoughts on “The dream of reducing learning to teaching

  1. The behaviourist dream is to reduce teaching to training, teachers to trainers and students to trainees. Of course, you can’t have education without training but you can and increasingly do have training without education!

  2. Thanks for the educational writing! All types of learning are converted into the motor knowledge of brain circuits. Therefore, classroom technology can not reduce the roles of subject teacher. In fact, the teaching theories of learning transfer will be changed in future classroom and the teacher will act as the smart moderator of book to brain knowledge transfer. It is obvious that engineers are working to enhance the teaching system of education but their technology can’t conduct learning transfer to student’s brain circuits. We have to apply the learning dimensions of brain science in classroom instead of teaching performance. Thanks again

  3. Dear Learnographer, You make ‘book to brain knowledge transfer’ sound very unproblematic and I wonder what you mean by ‘applying the learning dimensions of brain science in the classroom’. Also, whether you have taught any ‘books’ to any students?

  4. I thought I sent recommendation of M.Polnyi’s ‘Tacit Dimension’ + Mike Cooley’s ‘Architect or Bee?’ (+ more recent ‘Delinquent Genius’) also something I wrote of knowledgeskills. (Let me know by email if you did not receive.)

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