Friday, 30 October 2015

Scholarship AND Application

I feel there is often a tension between scholarship and application. Sometimes we in the dirty boots brigade - Polytechnics - can focus too much on the applied nature of what we teach, or the 'doing', without explaining the underpinning theory. Alternatively, the University sector can sometimes focus too much on the scholarship or theory side, and produce graduates who know all the alternatives, but none of the practice.

There's a great Aussie movie called "The Castle" (1997) where the main character, Darryl Kerrigan, says "But it's what you DO with it, darl!" which guides my teaching.

Because learning is not just about the doing: its the knowing as well. We teach theory so that we give people choices. When something hasn't worked, we can take apart the theory,  examine the failure point, and reassemble it in a different configuration to use next time and cover off our previous roadblock.

That's doing AND thinking.

My view is that anything we learn should help us to learn better next time. So as teachers (aka lecturers, tutors - what you will), our job is to help our students to become reflective learners.

We help others to build themselves.

I set out to mentor my learners so they hone their own learning processes, to get better and better - more adaptive - at their own learning, regardless of their particular learning goals.

Then they can both think and do. A winning combination!

  • Reference: Sitch, Rob (1997). The Castle. Australia: Working Dog, Village Roadshow Entertainment 

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