Posts Tagged ‘think’

A teacher (in Galactive) is the manager of knowledge creation   Prophets have always understood that foretelling needs to be made in a vague style.  Future prediction is a very difficult business, especially when you forecast something specific. However, if you predict for an undetermined period of time nobody can catch your mistake. To say that the teaching profession won’t last, doesn’t take courage. On the contrary, in saying that the teaching profession would never disappear (“Never say never”)  you take a chance. I will take this chance because I believe that this profession is an integral part of every human society.

Lately,  we hear more and more about the end of the teaching profession and this forecast is based mostly on these arguments:

  1. It isn’t the first extinct profession. It happens. It will happen again.
  2. World-wide diminution of the teacher’s role. Maybe this diminution is only the first step to extinction.
  3. New technology in education could bring alternatives.

The first. Some professions died while others have a long history and don’t give signs of future extinction. The second group consists from those that are there because of human nature (thieves for example) or those which satisfy the human necessary needs (fortune teller for example). Teachers have both components. People like to teach (at least some of them). Teachers help to transfer and process knowledge which satisfies the human society’s needs.

The second is simple. A bad attitude toward a profession says nothing about its longevity. Low opinion of politicians in society doesn’t say that this profession will have a problem of existence in the future.

The third one is the most difficult to argue. New technologies have a big share in education and certainly will have more in the future. Information flow already runs through the other pipes. A teacher isn’t the only and isn’t the best source of information.

Teaching is a dying profession in medieval because new printing technologies

Having access to information isn’t everything. Surfing the WEB without direction is a mostly unproductive occupation. We need direction in the informational chaos. Knowledge has a structure and this structure defines learning sequence. You can’t see the whole building when you are sanding at the entrance. A teacher is an experienced guide who gives you direction. Help in learning is difficult because different people create knowledge in different ways. People think differently therefore a teacher needs to adjust the learning way to a specific student. Another aspect is social interaction. People will need to communicate with each other personally. Children learn everywhere by trying, but sometimes they need correction, and the teacher’s directions can have value.

Computers are becoming more intelligent. Educational programs are becoming more attractive and effective. It is possible that some day computers will think like humans (for me, it means that the computer will become a man). This Robo-man could replace human teachers. Whether the teacher would be made of cells or of another material, the profession would remain.


My English teacher once said to me. “What is wrong with you? In everything you have found a different point of view. Could you, once, simply agree with me?” And I agree with him .He is right. I have a problem. My problem is critical thinking.

Everyone has critical thinking. At least everybody I asked. Everyone knows what critical thinking is. At least everybody I asked. We all have the ability to be critical… about someone whom we dislike. It is more difficult to be critical towards our favorite actor or sports club and almost impossible toward ourselves. “Love is blind”. Strong feelings as hate and love hamper critical thinking. It is hard to see something good in something we hate and something bad in what we love.

Alien to his girlfriend: "My critical thinking says that you arethe most wonderful creature in universe."

On the other hand critical thinking could complicate our relationships. Agreement makes connections stronger. Usually it is much easier to agree than disagree. With critical thinking we often disagree. Few like that. But unanimity is boring. Consensus doesn’t bring new and only disagreement helps find another view on a situation.

P.S. It seems that those who disagree with the above have a different definition of critical thinking. Practice shows that this definition is a generally accepted disagreement.

“In the beginning was the Word…”. Then a language rose from  a word and provided a possibility  to translate information from one individual to another. With the help of words people began to use each others experience and build knowledge not only from personal mistakes but also from experience of other people. New knowledge thrives on connected experience of individuals.

“Language shapes the way we think, and determines what we think about.”( Benjamin Lee Whorf)

A fear of making a mistake is death for learning to think independently. In my opinion, teacher, facilitator must create atmosphere of freedom. It needs to be explained for students that making mistakes is the way we learn. Everybody makes mistakes. The teacher has to give an example and be able to admit when he doesn’t know something or makes mistake. Moreover, I sometimes make an intentional mistake to explain why my students do not need to accept everything as given.

After I watched  the movie I wrote above and tried to illustrate my thought. I do not know why my pictures said something different.

  A fear of making a mistake is death for learning to think independently.
  In my opinion, teachers and facilitators must create an atmosphere of freedom.
It needs to be explained to students that:

  1. making mistakes is the way we learn.
  2.  everybody makes mistakes.


  The teacher has to give an example and has to be able to admit when he doesn’t know something or makes a mistake.
I sometimes make an intentional mistake to explain why my students do not need to accept everything as given.  

People don’t copy information. They construct new information.

While I teach my students new things, they construct knowledge in different way. Maybe because the base of construction (their preliminary knowledge) is different.

One incident convinced  me in the correctness of this statement. One day after I finished teaching one year course, I was surprised by  my students, who presented me with a small book of my sayings. Believe me, I didn’t say this.

Not only misunderstandings lead to changing information. Connections that we make between new and old information also create new information. “Connection creates meaning”( Defining Connectivism, G.Siemens). We have reasons to make more connections for our learning.( See my post Web creation). But the question is what type of connection is more beneficial. Let me illustrate by the next pictures.

The left picture demonstrates chaos, the connection of everything to everything. The right picture brings more meaning because it organizes information. When we organize information, we create new information.