What about teaching? (related with Connectivism Theory) – Downes answers in CCK09 moodle forum

Re: What about teaching?
by Stephen Downes – Monday, 5 October 2009, 12:52 PM
…it is a bit of a misattribution of the theory to ask, «How does it help you in your teaching?» People looking for tips and tricks to support their classroom teaching are, in my opinion, looking in the wrong place.

This theory is, first and foremost, a theory about learning. This is why I tweeted a few weeks ago that people – including teachers – should be viewing Connectivism as a theory describing how to learn, not how to teach. And what it says about learning, essentially, is that you should immerse yourselve in the relevant environment, observe and practice the common actions in that environment, and reflect on that practice.

I have described the pedagogy that emerges from Connectivism in the siumplest possible terms:
– to teach is to model and to demonstrate
– to learn is to practice and reflect
In a certain important sense, teaching isn’t about ‘telling’ at all, and it certainly isn’t about classroom management, marking and assessing, or providing a structured series of learning events.

Why not? Well, in one sense, these – even the ‘telling’ are all activities periphrial to teaching. The actual act of learning does not consist in the sittiung and listening, or even the reading; it never has. It consists in the doing and thinking – the practice and reflection – that actually have a substantial effect on your neural state. The instructions, background and data you need to stimulate practice could come from anywhere – maybe a teacher, maybe a colleague, maybe yourself, maybe an authentic task – wherever.

So – insofar as there is a pedagogy attached to Connectivism, I content that it involves more and more removing students from a structured and managed classroom environment, and more and more providing means for them to be immersed in communities of practitioners, and for this to happen at a younger and younger age, and in addition, to more and more create in practitioners the expectation and responsibility of working openly and including new and inexperienced members into their communities.

So to me, an answer to the question «What impact does networked learning have on *in class* activity?» should be, «it eliminates it».

Now I realize that this is not helpful to teachers looking for tips and tricks for in-class activities. Such teachers, I contend, should be looking for eays of moving their students out of their classrooms and into authentic learning environments, while at the same time fostering the communicative and reasoning skills (which has often been neglected) that will enable them to begin participating in such environments.

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