Saturday, 18 December 2010

Lifelong Learning

Joseph Beuys, Untitled (Sun State), 1974

“As a society becomes yet more technical, there is no longer a separation from actual doing, and education begins to take up a larger and larger proportion of the lifespan; indeed, education becomes part of the way of life. More and more time is given over to telling (usually in print), to demonstrating out of the context of action.” – Jerome Bruner

…or of studying for teaching qualifications instead of teaching, or researching instead of practicing.

“Because the job of teaching is often insular, it is easy to fall into familiar routines. Such routines are not conducive to professional growth. For professional growth, we need, as I suggested earlier, feedback on our teaching. In even broader terms, we need to treat teaching as a form of personal research. We need to use the occasions of our performance as teachers as opportunities to learn to teach.
In saying to experienced teachers that we need to use the occasions of our own teaching as opportunities to learn to teach, I am really saying that, like any other art, learning the art form is an endless venture. In the best of all possible worlds, it never ends until we do.” –Elliot Eisner

It’s the difference between living an examined life and a life of examinations. And as Socrates might have said: a life of examinations is not worth living.


Tamsin said...

Getting a bit sick of your teachers course, then?

J. Hamlyn said...

Yup, I’ve shelved it. Various reasons really, mostly to do with the pressures of too many conflicting responsibilities (teaching, research, being a new dad) and studying at the same time, or rather, proving that I’m studying according to criteria that – ironically - have precious little do with the transformation that is learning. One positive thing I’ve realised though, but probably should have known all along, is that a variety of interesting and engaged students, some well informed friends and colleagues plus a forum for reflection and debate (this blog) are far more challenging and informative than ever will be the constraints of a conveyor-belt course which turns what should be a rewarding experience into a monotonous and uninspiring chore. The qualification would potentially be useful but it’s highly likely that, if I’m going to lose my job due to lack of professional qualifications, it’s going to happen in the next nine months before I get the qualification anyway.

Tamsin said...

Courageous, and smart.

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