Students will be sorted, sequenced, sequestered by age (and in some cases gender and parental affluence) into government regulated, architecturally drab, spaces in places across the North and South Island.
The compelling claim that “Teaching is telling” and “Learning is listening” (Harpaz 2004) neglects, I think, the more recent and ubiquitous influence of “Teaching is screening” and “learning is looking”
Manovich’s counter cost to cinema’s “mobilized virtual gaze”, “Institutionalised immobility of the spectator” is all too real for student experience in 2005. They face hours, weeks and months of “institutionalized immobility” whether "interacting" with a computer screen or "listening" to a teacher.
Each year in the landscapes of eduspeak serious and serial meetings are called, focus groups gather, online communities connect, research is undertaken – well meaning reformers make action plans and bullet points for what is “accepted as necessary” and what is “imagined as possible”
The jargon is all -engage, motivate, excite, exhilarate, authenticate – the irony is that the sense of RE is quite lost from the REformers dialogue about student learning – lost from the consensual conversations about what we want them to learn.
In the recent past, and predictably the future recent we have imagined that the dynamic interactivity of the computer screen might rescue us from these interminable conversations and initiatives. But as Manovich (2001 p115) so eloquently argues –
“As was the case centuries ago, we are still looking at a flat rectangular surface existing in the space of our body and acting as a window into another space.”
“We are still looking” “We are still looking” Yet we started learning from the first moist mucused moment of our Lowly Worm "oooch" out of the uterus. So what is going on in the institutions we have purpose built for learning? Why are we still struggling with creating learning communities?
I predict that whilst we remain helplessly predicated to the “institutionalised immobility of the spectator” paradigm we will not sort this. We need some thinking that can find the enduring understandings of human learning. Think back to when you last learned something worthwhile - What were the circumstances of this new learning? Compare these with the learning environments our young people will experience in classrooms tomorrow.
Reckon John Taylor Gatto is an excellent irritant to thinking about this issue -