Future of Education Week 1 final reflection

by Rebecca Stuhr

Although I am skeptical about the generalized use of MOOCs as a substitute for in person learning, I have listened in on several that I feel fortunate to have connected with (and of course a couple, one in particular with a similar title to this one, that I was extremely disappointed in). Having spent a little time with the “Understanding Research Methods” mooc from the University of London, I was optimistic about what this MOOC would offer. And, this morning, while making scones, I listened to the first two weeks of videos. I am not disappointed. I love the thoughtful and intelligent interviews–no jokes, no funny hats, no condescension, but a genuine opportunity to hear scholars who care about their topics being asked serious questions and answering them in a clear and understandable way. I am hearing people talk about the educational process in a way that shows that 1) they care about the topic and 2) care about communicating their ideas.https://rebeccastuhr.wordpress.com/2014/10/04/future-of-education-blog-reflection-week-1/

I mentioned in the first post that I often have one chance in a class room–I found myself listening to the lectures and thinking about how I could better present the next few class sessions I am giving in the upcoming week. How can I teach by asking questions rather than spouting the information–something I always  try to do (ask questions)–but in thinking about the process with these lectures I came up with a slightly new idea. I also found the lecture on ability so important! I live in Philadelphia, a city of gross disparities in economic, social, and educational opportunities. Everyone who can goes to a private school. The public schools are all but bankrupt, teachers and other professionals and aids have been laid off, turn over is rampant. There are teachers and community members who care deeply about make the situation better for all children in the city. Still, the opportunities are few and the chances of being left behind or further deprived are high. I find that their are many, probably privileged, students who make their way into the local ivy league institution–even they have difficulty listening and absorbing small pieces of information — how much worse for students without many of the advantages these university attending students have had? I don’t have the answers of course, and I don’t know how a theory of “expert learning” translates into change the possibilities for those who haven’t had the chance to connect with possibilities, but maybe some ideas will arise.

Too much rambling–but I do feel that whether I manage all the reading or continue with the reflections (I hope I do because writing is a way that I learn and consolidate and make concrete my thoughts) I will gain something from these thoughtful presentations.