The anti-teacher teacher movement
Why are some teachers so sceptical about the very idea of teaching? Why the assumption that whatever the teacher says at the front of the class must be (prima facie) bad, while all the lovely innocent things that children can find online are (prima facie) good? Teacher talk: bad. Surfing the web: good. Isn't this a bit naive?
We have written a series of posts on our philosophy blog, trying to put our finger on where these anti-teacher teachers go wrong. They concentrate largely on the ideas of one person: Professor Sugata Mitra - a popular speaker that masses of people find very inspiring, but who strikes us as a dangerous influence and an unwitting pawn in a game which will be won by people who don't actually give a damn about education. Mitra believes that the internet will revolutionalise education, and he comes close to believing that the future role of teachers will boil down to selecting the right tools for the children and then letting them get on with it on their own. We strongly disagree, and we express that disagreement in the blog posts below:
- Sugata Mitra's hole in the wall project
- Teaching as indoctrination; learning online as outdoctination
- Prof. Sugata Mitra, the anti-teacher teachers and the minimally invasive revolution
Basically, we believe that we need more teaching, not less (and it goes without saying that by "teaching" we do not mean "preaching" and forcing kids to repeat the contents of the little pink book over and over again until they damn well know it by heart), and rather than lend our support to the closure of neighbourhood schools in favour of online courses run by ex-bankers and venture capitalists, we are adamant that neighbourhood schools need to be defended and strengthened.
Sugata is one of the High Priests of the so-called digital revolution. This is a phenomenon we are somewhat skeptical about. We are all in favour of the internet, but we don't see it as revolutionary. It's more technology. Useful in its way, but with a whole stream of consequences for humanity that are rather mixed, and it definitely doesn't usher in a whole new epoch in which the warmongers will lay down their arms and the one percent embrace the idea of voluntary poverty. No, it ain't no revolution. It's just a lot of hype.
We have set up a website to gather material pointing out how reactionary the so-called digital revolution can be: The Digital Counter-Revolution.