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Kurt Xyst
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A good conversation, but the basic premise is still faulty. Monika seems to be referring to a pedagogical approach to teaching, and speaks to the idea of giving students a chance to shape the lesson or the project. While a fine idea, it's still not learning. It's playing with the inputs, clearly that in and of itself is not learning. That's similar to the argument that excellent education can be bought simply by paying teachers (or students) a lot of money. It's a ferocious reduction of human minds to mechanisms or other purely logical-rational-utilitarian models that can be manipulated through Newtonian means. That ship sailed a century ago
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Mark draws an excellent and useful distinction in the interpretation of the idea of "customer." It serves to remind us that even traditional core values of civil discourse and bearing have been enmeshed in the language of commerce and such a development, propagated widely through out the culture, frames the conversation even about "respect, dignity, and courtesy" as a transaction. That may not be the worst thing in the world, but we ought to take language seriously.
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The notion of students as consumers is one of the more noxious memes floating around our schools and halls of policy. Such an interpretation fundamentally misunderstands the value of education and forever disempowers students as passive members of a one-way transaction, recipients of particularly structured information and systems of value, information whose half-life diminishes at a rate not unlike that described by Moore's Law. Irrelevancy lies in the notion that the world is still a top-down regime. Students desire to learn has nothing to do with it. Students are hungry for knowledge like no other, but fundamentally understand that knowledge is personally constructed not deposited.
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