Assistant teacher course/Theory of education

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Theory of education

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Discussing publications
Activity: group work, discussion
Group size: unlimited
Preparation: preparing sources
Instructors: 1
Duration: ?

Discussing publications

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The participants should have had enough time to devise their own theories and perspectives by now. In this course phase the participants should discuss relevant passages from publications in the field of education. An example is the quote below from John Dewey's Democracy and Education. The quote should be discussed in relation to the previous course phase "Theory formation". More quotes can be found, for instance, in the teachers' handbook.

It is that no thought, no idea, can possibly be conveyed as an idea from one person to another. When it is told, it is, to the one to whom it is told, another given fact, not an idea. The communication may stimulate the other person to realize the question for himself and to think out a like idea, or it may smother his intellectual interest and suppress his dawning effort at thought. But what he directly gets cannot be an idea. Only by wrestling with the conditions of the problem at first hand, seeking and finding his own way out, does he think. When the parent or teacher has provided the conditions which stimulate thinking and has taken a sympathetic attitude toward the activities of the learner by entering into a common or conjoint experience, all has been done which a second party can do to instigate learning. The rest lies with the one directly concerned. If he cannot devise his own solution (not of course in isolation, but in correspondence with the teacher and other pupils) and find his own way out he will not learn, not even if he can recite some correct answer with one hundred per cent accuracy. 

The recommended procedure is to form work groups who are given several passages each. The same passage can be handed out several times to different groups. For each quote the group should be given more context (e.g. whole chapters or collections of earlier passages that are relevant for understanding the passage). The groups should be given time to read and discuss the passages they have received and should lead the following discussion when their passages are presented.

Applying the understanding gained the groups should prepare to ask the relevant questions so others can make the relevant conclusions and not prepare a full (but potentially boring) explanation of what the passages aim to convey. The groups can also prepare incompatible perspectives (irrespective of their actual opinions) and challenge each other's perspectives in the discussion. The preparation can arrange for the opportunity of Socratic debate following a predetermined course.

This resource has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. This applies worldwide. You are advised to consider the possibility of extraterrestrial intellectual property rights claims that do require mentoring duties in compensation ("either mentoring or trouble with extraterrestrials").

Content released into the public domain may be used for any purpose without attribution, including commercial activities and creation of derivative works.