A response to an article on student-led learning.

I’ve just read this.  I’m a secondary school English teacher, and I do not think any student between eleven and eighteen should be in charge of their own learning.  I should be in charge of it; I’m older, been all the way through full-time education and spent some years teaching, and if ‘being in charge of students’ learning’ isn’t what I’m paid to do, I don’t know what is.  I’d assume primary students are even less able to make responsible choices about their own learning.

Whilst I was reading about this, I was also reminded of Sartre’s famous argument that man is ‘condemned to be free’.  If I were a student and a teacher gave me a choice of four tasks, there’s a risk of me thinking either ‘I’m tired and can’t be arsed with that hard-looking piece of extended writing’ or ‘Shit, I’m fifteen; how am I supposed to know which of these tasks I’ll learn best from?’.  Last but not least is that it’s quite nice to have someone else pushing you on and encouraging you.  My willpower might flag, as aforementioned – I might think, ‘God, I can’t be bothered’.  Especially in the afternoon.  It’s quite nice to know that someone else is going to say, ‘Do this.  It’s difficult.  Don’t be lazy.  Just do it’.

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