learn what vs. how to learn

during last week’s meeting, some discussions on course offerings for teachers based on what they need took place. having read this article on a History professor reflecting on whether the teaching of history should focus on content (“历史学什么”), or should it be how to learn history (“历史怎么学”), i can’t help but to analyse the discourse through the above lens.

(personally) sadly, the perspective taken still adopted an empty-container-to-be-filled metaphor. for example, if teachers have needs in grammar knowledge, we should conduct course(s) to fill the container(s) with the needed knowledge. there’s no right or wrong since different learning theories may apply, but the perspective taken would affect the way a course is designed. how different would it be if the “enabling teachers on how to learn” perspective is adopted instead?

we always say teachers teach the way they are taught (citation needed), or teachers teach the way they learnt (citation needed). if teachers are not allowed to become self-directed learner, but instead the assumption is empty vessels to be filled, how could s/he teaches his/her students to be a true self-directed, lifelong learner of the 21st century?

in this internet/knowledge age, there’s no lack of contents especially online. but the skill of understanding/applying/synthesising & creating new knowledge based on what turns up from the internet is what our students should be empowered with. but if a teacher does not learn this way, will s/he believe that learning takes place as such, and in turn design his/her learning activities where students learn ‘how-tos’ instead of downloading of (overloaded) data? there’s no lack of literature on how teachers’ beliefs affect his/her teaching.

NE Show (11/7) - fireworks #5
NE Show (11/7) – fireworks #5