What if we drew a line from the idea of practicing Critical Pedagogy (Maha Bali, 2014) to Connie Yowell’s assertion that the process of engaging the learner – the context – has to matter more than linking teaching subject matter to “Desired Outcomes” and test scores. Critical pedagogy is essentially: “Learning habits (reading, writing, discourse) that intentionally question.” (This my own one-sentence summary – you may feel free to disagree.)  What if, we link a community of practice, or a practice of learning to… learning how we learn? The Art & Science of learning everything…. by @TFerris

If we, as teachers, are engaged in the practice of critical pedagogy (or a reflective practice) … then, in theory, we should be deeply intrigued and invested in, learner engagement. Except: we are not. I would assert that even the most critically engaged teacher, enthralled with the process of engaging the learner and trying to remain deeply committed to the idea of learning contextual process, may return to their default setting: measuring learner outcomes. The reason that we may be inclined to return to the default setting is: this is the modus operandi, if you will, or the way that we were educated. Annoyingly, as in parenting, we return to what we know, even if we don’t like it, ourselves, or what it does to our classrooms and the learners in it.

I posit that, critically, if we are to emerge on the other side of the “new” online educational reality with a new paradigm, we need to fully engage in the process of re-creating the learning space. And we need to be thoughtfully, wholly and reflectively and critically cognizant of the process, our role within the process and how we can facilitate a learning environment that can creatively take on the process together. “The development of community as a part of the learning process helps create a learning experience that is empowering and rich. It is essential to impart the importance of this process to faculty in order to maximize the use of the online medium in education. Without it, we are simply recreating our tried and true educational model and calling it innovative,” without fully exploring the potential the online medium holds.” (Pallof & Pratt, 2007.)

I think Yowell’s assertion is pertinent. And I believe that the idea of focusing on the learner process vs. learner outcome, is possible in all content areas.

In conclusion: Does anyone agree or disagree with the idea that we are on the cusp of a new paradigm in education, as we make over our online classrooms into critically engaged learning spaces? What could be an unintended down side? What if we remained life-long learners, engaged in learning and maker-spaces that connected us socially, intellectually and emotionally so that all participants emerged richer for the experience and devoted to the ideas of cultural, class and societal change on a global level? What then?

3 thoughts on “Blog 4: Do you understand how you learn? Really?

    • Hi, Suzan,

      I have had time to respond, finally, to your response to my Blog 4. Thank you for your kind comments. I spent time with your blog and then with your dissertation – which I found extremely interesting and which I will read more fully after the semester is over.

      On page 133 of your thesis, you comment on educational vision as it relates to Open Pedagogy and on the conditions of learning and teaching that assist in realizing that vision. My question is this: Could it be that the philosophical foundation of Open Pedagogy is still so unclear to the practitioners that they do not really understand why they are creating a MOOC? This lack of understanding would, I believe, include the definitions of what constitutes new media literacies – including legal questions of online publishing. Isn’t the lack of success of many MOOC’s traceable to poor design – which can in turn, be traced to a lack of understanding of its true philosophical basis and intent?

      And then my next question: How do I go about publishing my Master’s Thesis online?

      Thanks for your support, Suzan. I tried to make the Google Hangout, again, but was just landing and getting home as it was occurring. Ugh. We could talk any time that would work for you on Facetime, Skype or Google Hangout, if you have time.

      best regards, Pauline

      On Sat, Nov 26, 2016 at 1:26 AM, InterWebs Literacies & Communities wrote:



  1. Pauline, I agree with Suzan, this is a powerful post with so much to dig in to. I do think that we are on the cusp of a new learning style and community that will positively impact learners. We have to remain in the mode of always wanting to learn throughout our lives and break free from the norms that includes going back to what we know in the form of testing. We are capable of so much more than what a standardized test might reflect, and I think that our classrooms or online communities should always keep this in the forefront of our minds when planning lessons.


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