Friday, January 09, 2009

Learning how not to learn

I was deeply saddened to learn last night what actually happens during the sessions called 'learning to learn' which form part of my younger son's curriculum at secondary school.

I was so pleased to discover that teaching was offered on this subject, since I firmly believe it is about the most valuable thing he will ever learn at school.

Sadly, although the root word 'learn' features twice in the title, it seems that this is false advertising. Apparently the first session was quite promising and the kids were really looking forward to what would follow. But subsequently, the children have been subjected to lessons on citizenship, covering issues like social responsibility and obeying the law. The teacher who runs these classes is apparently no more interested in them than the kids, and simply reads all the material from a workbook (reminds me of my grade 8 history teacher who read the text book to us).

Of course, I am keen that my son should learn how to contribute to society, but even there it seems that they are being misinformed. The way the material is pitched, the impression is given that 'society' refers to the infrastructures of authority, rather than the general populace. Of course, this might simply be my son's misconception, rather than something inherent in the material.

But I am seriously miffed that they aren't covering learning skills, critical thinking, etc. as promised, and I plan to take it up with the school. Wish me luck.


Dave Stacey said...

That is sad because there are some genuinely good L2L programs out there, and it's a shame when school like this promote them as something they're not. They do us all a disservice when they do.
Good luck with making a fuss!

Stephen Downes said...

Good luck.

Clark said...

Fingers crossed for you. It's a step in the right direction, having the class, but it's got to have a better curriculum. And you can tell them I said so ;).

The upsycho said...

Thanks for the support, guys. I have put in a call to the school, but have yet to hear back from the teacher in charge of that area of the curriculum.