Forwarded from Nick's blog:
This is a response to a college prompt on “self-directed learning” and “flipped classes”.
I hear the word student and sometimes I feel the need to divide
between a philosophical student (someone who is eager to learn whether
in the formal setting of a classroom or not) and an official student
(someone who sits in a desk and takes down notes without engagement), so
I just divided them.
The idea of being a more self-reliant
student — a philosophical student — has appealed to me since the
beginning of high school. The article briefly talked about the use of
averages, standards and comparisons as a mode for measuring how
successful a student — an official student — is in their formal
education. IQs, ACTs, SATs, GPAs, class ranks — they all just tell me
one thing about the educational system, and that is that our system of
education is more capitalistic than socialistic in its approach to
helping younger generations achieve higher learning and self-reliance.
We constantly compare, we constantly standardize- as if we could ever
measure someone’s success, performance and intelligence through a single
test, or a single standard number, that doesn’t change to adhere to the
differences between us. As a teacher I had last year said: “In my
several decades teaching at this school, and several years being a dean
and getting to know all the students, I would say that I have not seen a
single year where the valedictorian was actually the smartest kid in
We’re humans, not robots being manufactured on the
assembly line, right? There’s no single way to measure how we’re all
That being said, the idea of self-directed learning
seems to appeal to the independence and autonomous erudition of every
student — both kinds — that participates in the process. It’s aimed less
to compare and contrast, more to hone the skills and abilities of each
student as an individual and adhere them to the educational process to
ensure that anyone, regardless of their differences or preferences, can
learn, and subsequently break the bell curve of education and success.
It’s less reliant on a standard set by the educator, and more so on the
engagement and direction of the student. By this point, all students
involved should be philosophical students.
Everything about the
concept of a “flipped class” and self-directed learning sounds good to
me, but here is where my pessimism comes in.
My first impression
of “flipped classes” was a groaned: “Oh, another attempt at dividing the
line between servile education and engaged, critical
I love everything about the concept, but I’m
skeptical of whether or not it will actually succeed, or will even be
attempted at properly. It’s been mentioned and discussed many times
before, but it seems that nobody can figure out a way to work the
But I guess that highlights the issue, right? For
self-directed learning, there is no “system”. It’ll be different every
time, and there’s no guarantee that it will work.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to the try.