An hour or so ago I made the assertion that educators were pragmatists. Now I’m not so sure.
Most who end up teaching don’t grow up wanting to become learning theory experts. Instead, they want to teach something. The US system of credentialing postsecondary faculty based on content knowledge tends to accentuate this, and one ends up with college and university departments full of SME’s (Subject Matter Experts) with not much awareness of learning theory.
Bear with me. This is going somewhere.
As an instructional technology person , I see all these things (twitter, wikis, blogs, Second Life) as tools that have value, not intrinsically, but because they help you create better educational experiences. However, before I was an IT person, I taught (and actually still do teach) music and French. I don’t, maybe even can’t, see the value of Tallis’s Spem in Alium (Listen to a BBC radio program about this piece or download scores) or Clement Marot’s “A une demoyselle malade” (This short poem was the point de départ for Douglas Hofstadter’s Le Ton Beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language)as being utilitarian. There’s something simply beautiful about them that I struggle to convey to my students, who tend to be pragmatists like my educator self. It reminds me a of a line from Neal Stephenson’s Anathem, which I just finished reading.
“Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.”
So I don’t know what to make of my own duality here. Bringing this back to the topic, I wonder what a concept map of this post would look like and what sort of network it is. Never mind all the other associations firing in my mind (Snow Crash, the art installation ‘Fourty Voice Motet’ , Ivory tower vs. monastic cloister v. mathic concent, etc.)