The Postmodern Paradox

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					The Postmodern Paradox




   Teachers and Learners in Conflict


                 Steve Darn 2007       1
The Global Context


   • The replacement of the ‘prototypical student’
     by the disengaged, entitled, consumer student
   • The unwillingness to take on adult roles,
     creating a ‘protracted adolescence’
   • The importance of technology
   • The pressures of internationalisation
   • Public criticism leading to externally driven
     reform
   • No ‘jobs for life’
                      Steve Darn 2007                2
Who are they?


   • Born 1945-62 Baby Boomers
   • Born 1963-78 Generation X – ‘anything is
     possible, as long as you're willing to throw
     money at it’ ‘disaffected and directionless’ ‘I
     want my MTV’
   • Born 1979-99 Generation Y
   • Born 2000+ New Silent Generation -
     ‘withdrawn, cautious, unimaginative,
     indifferent, unadventurous and silent.’

                       Steve Darn 2007                 3
Generation Y have grown up
with
  • The Internet and           • DVD
    the World Wide             • Digital Audio - Mp3,
    Web for the                  iPod
    general user
                               • TiVo DVR devices
  • PCs requiring few
    keyboard skills            • HDTV

  • Sophisticated              • Broadband Internet
    computer graphics          • Digital Cameras
  • Cellular phones            • Camera phones
  • Instant messaging
                        Steve Darn 2007                 4
Generation Y


   • Respond to visual stimuli
   • Have great hand-eye coordination
   • Are able to multi-task
                BUT
   • Have a concentration span of ten
     minutes or less
   • Have a poor sense of real time
                  Steve Darn 2007       5
Generation Y Learners

   • Do not like school
   • Expect entertainment and are easily bored
   • Are not into books, reading or study
   • Are not motivated to do "school work”
   • Have a consumer mentality and want to
     negotiate
   • View education as a commodity to be
     acquired through purchase
   • See education as being passively acquired
                     Steve Darn 2007             6
Generation Y Learners


   • Have poorly developed developmental
     goals
   • Possess lower academic skills
   • Function at lower cognitive levels
   • Expect academic success with little effort
   • Believe they are entitled to good grades
   • Benefit from ‘grade inflation’


                     Steve Darn 2007              7
What we provide


   • loosely organised, unfocused curriculum
   • undefined learning outcomes
   • classes that emphasise passive listening
   • lectures that transmit low-level
     information
   • assessments of learning that demand only
     the recall of memorised material or low-
     level comprehension of concepts

                    Steve Darn 2007             8
What we provide


   • Instuctors who have not been taught
     how to teach
   • Teachers as ‘Experts’
   • Teachers who are comfortable with
     reflective learning. Students prefer active
     learning.
   • Baby Boom generation teachers.
   • Traditional classes, academic processes
     and products.
   • Short term academic goals.
                     Steve Darn 2007           9
Learner Outcomes

   • Good reading comprehension
   • Poor analysis or application skills
   •   Poor problem solving and reasoning skills
   •   Poor appreciation of scientific methods
   •   Poor memory and reasoning
   •   Poor language skills
   •   Focus on performance goals over learning goals
   •   Surface learning over deep learning
   •   A lack of general and global knowledge
   •   Poorly developed higher level cognitive skills
                         Steve Darn 2007                10
A Conclusion



     In fact there is limited
     evidence of a significant
     difference between students
     who take courses and
     students who do not.

               Steve Darn 2007     11
A Paradigm Shift


    ‘The significant problems we
      face cannot be solved at the
      same level of thinking we
      were at when we created
      them’
            (Albert Einstein)

                 Steve Darn 2007     12
Defining Objectives


    ‘Any instructor who is not
     familiar with Bloom's
     taxonomy of educational
     objectives should be
     hornswoggled.’

            (Dr. Mark Taylor)
                Steve Darn 2007   13
The Learning School


     “an organisation that
      facilitates the learning of
      all its members and
      continuously transforms
      itself.”
               (M. Pedlar)

                Steve Darn 2007     14
The Learning School

   • creates substantive change in individual
     learners.
   • engages learners as full partners in the
     learning process. Learners assume primary
     responsibility for their own choices.
   • creates and offers as many options for
     learning as possible.
   • assists learners to form and participate in
     collaborative learning activities.
   • defines the roles of teachers by the needs of
     the learners.
                      Steve Darn 2007                15
Technology


    ‘they have told me that they don't
     want personal contact with their
     instructors. They have stated that
     they want to "be left alone" to
     merely complete assignments and
     get the work out of the way.’

                 Steve Darn 2007      16
Technology


    ‘A sense of ownership of learning is
     one of the traits of successful online
     learners, and I feel concern that
     students are signing up for online
     classes out of convenience, without
     any understanding of the trade-off
     they are accepting for the benefit.’

                   Steve Darn 2007        17
Fundamental Changes



   • The student-teacher relationship
   • Student and teacher
     responsibilities
   • The students
   • The teacher’s role

                 Steve Darn 2007        18
Overcoming Obstacles


   • Change instructor beliefs and
       behaviour
   •   Diversify instructor skills
   •   Provide environment and technology
   •   Train learners
   •   Provide administrative support
   •   Make changes in academic scheduling
                    Steve Darn 2007      19
The Teacher’s Role in Change

   •   Identify external goals
   •   Create student ownership of goals
   •   Offer learning options
   •   Provide a variety of learning methods
   •   Act as a resource
   •   Assess against external criteria
   •   Concentrate on higher levels of learning
   •   Increase activity in learning
   •   Give meaningful assessments
                        Steve Darn 2007           20
Acknowledgements

   This presentation draws on the work of

   • Mark L Taylor (Arkansas State University) -
     Generation Next
   • Terry O’Banion (LICC) - The Learning
     College
   • Lion F Gardiner (Rutgers University) -
     Research into change in education

                     Steve Darn 2007           21
Thank you for listening



    www.stevedarn.com


             Steve Darn 2007   22