A report on a grasroot uprising of new pedagogies

This report is interesting, although I do have some reserves. For Pearson Fullan and Langworthy wrote a report on how teachers are changing their old-fashioned style of teaching towards a new pedagogy as they’ve noticed that the pupils have changed (or rather the world in which we and the pupils live has changed). The report in itself is valuable. For instance this table will probably inspire many:



And the combination of interviews with actual teachers combined with relevant research by Hattie, Kirschner, Cuban… makes this a good overview. Still there is also room for less academic quality in the sources, which may raise some eyebrows (well it had that effect on me).

The biggest issue I have with the report is in fact rather one single word: ‘new’.

Quoting Richardson (2013), Fullan and describe those new pedagogies as follows:

  • The explicit aim is deep learning that goes beyond the mastery of existing content knowledge. Here, deep learning is defined as ‘creating and using new knowledge in the world.’ Technology has unleashed learning, and the potential for students to apply knowledge in the world outside of school; new pedagogies leverage all of this in the formal learning process.
  • Teaching shifts from focusing on covering all required content to focusing on the learning process, developing students’ ability to lead their own learning and to do things with their learning. Teachers are partners with students in deep learning tasks characterised by exploration, connectedness and broader, real-world purposes.
  • Learning outcomes are measured in terms of students’ 1) capacities to build new knowledge and to lead their own learning effectively, 2) proactive dispositions and their abilities to persevere through challenges, and 3) the development of citizens who are life-long learners.

Well, to me this is not new. As the authors acknowledge, it’s a combination of Dewey, Vygotsky, Piaget,… but new? Maybe the technology is new? Well, yes, but technology doesn’t make a pedagogy new, as the report itself explains that it’s the way the technology is used rather than the tool itself. Maybe the new is ‘deep learning’, but we need to be careful not to create a new buzzword. And although the report is more post-constructivistic than one would think when reading it superficial, the jargon remains.

Don’t get me wrong, it sure is an interesting read, maybe I’m just a nitpicker or maybe it’s because I think it’s too outspoken!

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