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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Education is gossip made respectable

I came across this quote "Education is gossip made respectable" in Michael Drury's book Counterclockwise. There are many other nuggets in that autobiographical work.

The idea that education is a conversation (gossip) is something that I have been bumping into in my own experience and reading/talking with other educators.

Ironically the reason I have been encountering conversation in class is due to the archiving of screencasts of my lectures and making my class fully-online optional. Instead of creating a distance between myself and students, in many cases it has enabled conversation by reducing the amount of time I usually have to spend repeating myself to be understood. It seems that having the basic information of the class available in archived lecture format is useful as a background to integrate information naturally through conversation (at least for some students).

I am finding that conversation can be catalyzed by involving additional sensory modalities (e.g. kinesthetic when using molecular models for organic chemistry) or games. What these have in common is a natural tendency to constructivism, which I have found to be notably absent in lecturing (especially in a large room).


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