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Archive for the ‘Heutagogy’ Category

Is Heutagogy the Future of Education?

In Wired for Culture Mark Pagel points out that

 “Modern humans seem, uniquely among animals, capable of something that psychologists and anthropologists call cultural or social learning”.

Homo Sapiens rise to civilisation was based on this capability for learning but, on the many occasions that we have tried to design an education system for our species, we have invariably failed to improve on our original ability to learn socially. In Plato’s Academy 2500 years ago Socrates was already warning that the new-fangled invention of writing with symbolic language would result in something poorer than existing oral culture. We were about to become mediated by tools less flexible than our face-to-face conversational framework.

Socrates was talking during the first axial age when the settlement-based civilisations of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth switched to an underpinning metaphor of life that was based on a materialist creator God, because we were building cultures out of the crude raw materials we extracted from nature.

Universities, whether Arabic or Western, were originally built around sharing the ideas captured in the books that Socrates had warned about writing in the first place. Universities were originally built on the principle of disseminating this new monotheism (the only basis on which a Royal Charter would be granted in the UK) and when Paris and Bologna spotted that self-organised “communities of scholars” were visiting their cities with money to spend they incorporated universities in order to benefit from the cash spend of scholars; nothing new there then. Universities were built in order to take money off scholars whilst drilling them to think in a singular fashion based on a “learning by rote” copying down of rare and selected texts.

Fortunately the medieval university evolved the Liberal Arts model of Education which, at Bachelors level, involved the development of multiple skills of expression (music, rhetoric, grammar, etc) and only at Masters level was subject mastery (hence the name) the basis of education. This was eventually replace by the integrated Prussian model of a “nation-building” education during the nineteenth-century when the nation-state became fashionable as did national languages, a national curriculum and standardisation of all things.

The 7 Liberal Arts; Grammar Rhetoric Logic (Dialectic) Music Geometry Mathematics Astronomy

When, in 1970 as a school leaver, I came to choose between going to an English University, where the purpose of studying was driven by the Oxbridge model of training colonial administrators who could run the British Empire, or going to a Polytechnic to gain the skills necessary to maintain the factories of the Industrial Revolution, I was completely bemused. The British Empire had effectively collapsed in 1956 (Suez crisis) whilst British industry had been in terminal decline after Bretton Woods (1946) which ensured the loss of the closed markets that the Empire had previously guaranteed. I chose instead to enter the cultural industries (popular music) that the creative working class had spontaneously created during the 1960s using the tools made available by the Analogue Revolution. With the exception of some Art Colleges, usually seen as places for school children who had failed in the examinations of the formal education system, as John Lennon, Keith Richard Pete Townsend had (and in differing ways Mary Quant and Pauline Boty), there was no education available for the fastest-growing sector of the British Economy. Why? (more…)

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World Heutagogy Day 2020

World Heutagogy Day on 23rd September is when we both celebrate the publication of the first book on heutagogy, Self-Determined Learning edited by Stewart Hase and Chris Kenyon, and also try to both extend our understanding of heutagogy and identify new practices. The slideshare “What is Heutagogy” produced as a curated conversation by the authors of this collection of essays on the practice of heutagogy is a good introduction to heutagogy and reflects where we were with our understanding back in 2013.

Developing Heutagogy This year, because of the remarkable work of Vijaya Bhanu Kote a headteacher of a primary school in Andhara Pradesh India, we are focussing on “Heutagogy for Teachers” based on sharing her work in developing her school into a heutagogy school. This consists of more than just an abstract declaration that the school will practice heutagogy. It involves the very practical activity of training teachers in methods in which they can help their primary school children become what Vijaya calls “heutagogs” and producing a training guide. Remarkably Vijaya has involved the parents at her school who also become “heutagogs” and are involved helping their children become self-determined learners, or “heutagogs”. She has summarised her work in the following presentation.

Implementing Heutagogy for Teachers 

All teachers want their learners to do well; they want them to thrive, develop and grow. In the main their institutions get in the way of this ambition. Schools mistakenly measure success at the institutional level through examination results.  Educational “success” is quantified and measured in exam results, still based on what we call the content fallacy.

The content fallacy is the belief that education is entirely about the transfer of pre-defined subject knowledge from the almost-full memory of an active teacher into the empty memory cells of passive learners.

Pedagogy, as one theory of teaching, is about the better design of that content transfer. Pedagogy starts with the subject knowledge as “content” to be transferred from teacher to learner taken as a given. 900 years ago it was just copying a book in your own handwriting. In the 21st century it is writing down lecture notes as dictated by a teacher. Learners are seen as empty vessels into which we pour endless chunks of content to be memorised and our “high-stakes assessment” system is there to police that memorisation. In short, schools are not learner-centric and teachers are not rewarded for putting learners, and learning first, but for exam results. How can we improve that? (more…)

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The Chocolate Cafe Manifesto

For Learning after Lockdown; This blog is about my ideas and work connected to Heutagogy, what Stewart Hase defines as “self-determined learning” and which I am interested in as a way of enabling learner-centred learning in the UK (and elsewhere). We think that, following the pandemic, as a “new normal” is introduced in the UK schools will not be capable of 100% attendance and will have to design for 50/50 learning. Arguably this might force schools to recognise that they will have to “trust the learner” for a change and allow some learning agency into UK schools. Schools will become “time poor” so they will have to become “learning-rich” This blog post looks at some ways in which that might be achieved.

Introduction (Secondary Education UK); For reasons to do with the Brainsrusting group who are discussing this issue and writing the “manifesto” we are focussing on Secondary Education in the UK, although the principles and thoughts we share might be useful anywhere. We met monthly at The Chocolate Cafe in Canterbury (famous for its Cathedral School 1000 years ago) and have debated how we might share our discussion and ideas as a “Manifesto for Learning” so here it is/will be.

50/50 Learning; We think that social distancing will require schools to offer only 50% of time in the classroom compared to the previous 100%. We are also assuming that UK (English) schools for the next academic year 20/21 will continue to follow the rigid OFSTED driven high-stakes achievement oriented education model that was introduced in the UK to “make sure the sixties never happens again” (PM Margaret Thatcher). From that perspective the 50% in classroom time will arguably remain the same but the 50% “beyond the classroom” learning time might allow some learning agency for schoolchildren. It is in this new “heutagogic learning time” that some freedom of learning might emerge. Our hierarchical schools made now be time poor but they can become “learning rich” instead.

Fast Education/Slow Learning; We need to design an education system that isn’t just concerned with the unchallenging “memorization” of “facts” the so-called “learning by rote” that is the hallmark of our exam-driven secondary system; what I call “Fast Education”. We also need to allow for the thoughtful, reflective “Eureka” process of “slow learning” where we make sense of the world for ourselves, to be part of our education system. Daniel Kahneman talked of “Thinking Fast and Slow” and showed how “slow thinking” is how we make sense and create our own meaning, whereas as “fast thinking” is about developing high speed answers to known questions. Our secondary education is almost entirely concerned with “fast thinking” and so points students at clearly defined subject areas where the teacher knows the answer. This is an education system that is good for providing clear answers for exams, but no-good for solving-problems and enabling sense-making when events diverge from the norm; as in pandemics. Here are our 4 big ideas; (more…)

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Heutagogy and the Digital Future of Education

Presentation at DTCE Manchester University

This is an overview of my work on digital projects since 1995 and how it might inform us about the future.

If you want to ask questions or have some of the points expanded please post questions below;

Fred Garnett 24 May 2018

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Pedagogy, Andragogy & Heutagogy

Background; This was first a guest post on Stewart Hase’s Heutagogy Community of Practice blog; you can follow them on Twitter as @heutagogycop. I’ve reblogged it here because the PAH Continuum, as a reference point, is a key part of our work concerning heutagogy. I am currently spending most of my time working on WikiQuals which is a heutagogic answer to the accreditation of learning problem; more on the WikiQuals blog.

In my teaching practice, mostly with socially excluded kids attempting to get some qualifications in college, I developed a number of techniques for showing them how to be successful on their own terms. College is classically a context in which an andragogic approach works best, where you negotiate with your students to find an agreed learning path. In the Computer Studies department where I worked, at Lewisham College in London, we had developed our own universal entry test, followed by an interview, which everyone took. We had found this process to be a better predictor of success that their school results, which usually just measured their dissatisfaction with an education system which was designed to fail them. We then offered to the prospective student what seemed to be appropriate courses and subjects on which they might be successful.

However, over time, I developed a technique that I now call brokering that was much more about negotiating with the learner (more…)

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Heutagogy, Emergent, Ambient (2)

This is the second of three posts looking at developing the heutagogic qualities of the Open Context Model of Learning (OCM) into the Emergent Learning Model and from that examining the possibilities of building an Ambient Learning City in Manchester (with MOSI-ALONG). The OCM is an attempt to re-conceptualise learning post web 2.0, with a concern to rethink roles and responsibilities for learning as suggested by the LGC Manifesto. An earlier blog post, the first of a sequence of three of which this is number two, used the concept of the PAH Continuum to look at how teachers might develop a craft of teaching that would enable and support the self-organisation of learners. Sugata Mitra, who works on similar ideas, is now talking about Self-Organised Learning Environments (SOLE).  However what we are discussing here is perhaps the conceptual follow on, what I call an Emergent Learning Model (ELM), for reasons that I hope will become clear.  (more…)

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Deschooling Society 2012 @the Serpentine Hayward

I spent most of the last day of April 2010 at the infuriatingly provocative DSS event at the Purcell Room; the Hayward Gallery is being refurbished until June 19th, I think, when they re-open with Festival Brazil. Hey, We’re Closed! is a site-specific season outdoors now, in the meantime.

Deschooling Society, titularly inspired by Ivan Illich but focused around Critical Pedagogies, was a roomful of somewhat precious creatives from the expansive USA, the diffident UK and the rigorous EU (compression hey, don’t you just love it) discussing the possibilities for Museum Education in 2012. In many ways this was a unique debate on curating future learning. (more…)

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