Respect concerns to limit or strive to overcome?


Should we as educators respect students’ concerns to limit or bound learning networks, or should we strive to overcome them?


This is a tricky question which seems to go to the heart of the relationship between educator and learner, the power relations between them and the question of what is the responsibility of the educator.

From the learner’s perspective it relates to learner agency and autonomy. To what extent are learners justified in wanting to limit or bound their own learning networks? This raises the question of context.

From the educator’s perspective it relates to the age old question of when to intervene. At what point is it our responsibility to try and move learners from their comfort zone? Does respecting students’ concerns necessarily mean giving in to them?

Is it a bit like trying to teach a child who hates water to swim?


@SoniaLivingstone @jennymackness

Its a matter of progression, and topic and context, no? All of which depends on where a particular learner or set of learners are in their exploration of a topic.

In the broadest terms, I like to think of it as a progression over time (ranging from a very short time to decades) from recognising uncertainty to tolerating uncertainty to celebrating uncertainty.

But without some uncertainty there is no challenge, just repetition, and mature learners (including many - if not most children) are characterised by radical scepticism.

So … the reverse question … what roles does ‘schooling’ play in undermining children’s unbounded inquisitiveness, and making the route (back) to radical scepticism so long and painful - and why, oh why?