Thoughts on Papert’s “Children’s Machine”: Chapter 5

Like many who have blogged about this chapter, I’m surprised there is not one word in the English language is the equivalent to the word learning.  Is it because no one has sat down and thought about one that might be its equal?  Or, does there necessarily have to be another word that means the same thing?

I liked the example of Victorians and discussing sexual fantasies as a metaphor for why some people are afraid of discussions.  I used to be afraid to get into a discussion for the reason expressed in the book: that I would be judged based on what I had to say and the opinion I had on a topic.  It may have been the whole looking for acceptance thing or something else, but the fact of the matter is I was terrified of speaking up in a discussion.  I would love to listen to what everyone else had to say about whatever we were talking about, so it wasn’t an issue of not being interested in a discussion, although that has happened before.

I think as a teacher, I need to find a way to make a discussion bias-free and non-judgemental to where everyone can openly share what they think about a topic.  One of the problems may be the questions we ask students.  Some of them might not be relevant to the students lives and they don’t have any interest in them.  Or, maybe they are way over their head and we need to rephrase them.  Students know the answers to the questions we have for them, but we have to be able to communicate what we want to ask them in order start a discussion.  Like the book, I agree that one of the best types of learning come through discussion.

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