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Dialogue between two friends about importance of self study

The struggle between progressive and formal education rages on, with progressive side slowly but surely gaining ground, thereby driving a process of evolution towards a more largely student-centered learning environment. In this effort, one sometimes feels that we are going the way of reducing the role of the teacher to the bare minimum, even to the point of hoping to do away with her altogether.

But is this bare minimum enough? Because of this, we would like to look at education not only as a learning adventure mainly embraced by the student who is minimally helped by the teacher, but rather as a mutual learning experience that occurs between the student and the teacher through dialogue, with the special circumstance that the teacher participates in this dialogue from a position of greater experience and expertise.

But even in such a situation, a teacher can still learn from her student. In other words, we see the educational process as an enriching dialogue that takes place between two unique persons: As an example of a specific way by which education can become a dialogue between two unique persons, we would like to discuss the Dialogue between two friends about importance of self study method used by this lecturer to explain the lessons in our university.

This method involves the following steps: Engage, Express, Explain, Test. The method tries to encourage dialogue keeping in mind the specific circumstances of the students. In truth, it is no longer just a buzzword but now rather a dream, a desire, a goal or even something that is already in the making.

It would enough to browse through the Internet to find out that many educational institutions—including my own university the Catholic University of Widya Mandala in Surabaya—are exerting great efforts to make student-centered learning a reality.

In this traditional way, the teacher is seen as the possessor of the desired knowledge and the student is an empty receptacle waiting to be filled with that knowledge. Thus, the educational process simply becomes a transfer of information, which will require an active effort from the teacher but a more passive attitude on the part of the student.

  • Critical thinking is the ability to discern what is right and what is wrong, what is contradictory and what is not, what is logical and what is illogical;
  • For some teachers, if a student does well on several topics, it would be enough proof that he has sufficiently mastered the subject;
  • Enriching The dialogue that occurs between the teacher and the student should be enriching;
  • The method is designed for interaction and discussion, for personal research and, at the same time, the sharing of thoughts.

The student merely needs to be attentive. He should simply accept by faith what the teacher tells him and should postpone questions or original ideas to the time when he would have received enough training to be at par with the teacher. The problem with that type of understanding of the educational process can be found in three points: An interested student, it seems, is far more prepared to learn something than an uninterested one. Now, when the student himself is actively involved in the educational process, it seems that the desire or interest to learn increases and the learning and the retention of the subject matter improves greatly.

In this article, we shall concentrate on the use of the Dialogue Model of learning in the context of higher level education i.

  • As we have seen informal educators do not make use of a formal curriculum for much of their work;
  • Do I need to ask someone— teacher of fellow student—to explain some aspect of this subject matter to me?
  • Agreement cannot be imposed, but rests on common conviction Habermas 1984;
  • Even when they may be talking about the same topics, the teacher may find some topics more meaningful to her, while student realizes that other topics are more meaningful to him.

We do, however, think that the Dialogue Model can be used mutatis mutandis in all levels of education, and we hope to discuss this side of the issue in a future book or article.

Going Overboard In the course of carrying out this laudable effort of instilling student-centered learning in teaching institutions, as it sometimes occurs in anything that entails avoiding a certain extreme, we may unconsciously go all the way to the other extreme. In the case of student-centered learning, some may make the mistake of desiring to reduce the teacher participation to the bare minimum, such that her goal becomes to be completely non-intrusive, the idea being this: If this were the goal of student- centered education, then the endpoint would be to have no teacher at all, with the student working on his own and learning whatever he likes.

But, if we are to have our feet on the ground as regards this, we will have to admit that, oftentimes, leaving a student to go on his own steam in terms of his education could have the following undesired consequences: The existence of these undesired consequences reveals to us that the teacher still has a significant role to play in the educational process. At the very least, she has: One empirical study on the subject which supports student-centered learning is: It should not remain dialogue between two friends about importance of self study Rather, it should change towards dialogue, with both student and teacher taking very active roles.

Striking a Balance Aristotle says that a man becomes perfect because he acquires good habits that lead him to do things in a perfect manner. The golden mean is not a mathematical average between two quantitative extremes.

The golden mean is actually an action that is proportionate to the situation. This means that is it not a matter of being not too much of this one extreme and not too much of that the opposite extremebut rather what is fitting and perfect for the given situation, that is, what is right. A person who always gets thing right is someone that Aristotle would call a virtuous person.

If in music there is such a thing as a virtuoso, the same can be said about just any other thing that requires perfection in expertise, including the art of living itself, which includes learning. When it dialogue between two friends about importance of self study to student-centered learning, it is not a matter for going from one extreme i.

Rather, it is the right combination of student participation and teacher intervention. Now, if we think about it carefully, the situation of each teacher in relation to a particular class that she has for a certain school year is always unique, that is, nuances of the relationship between this teacher and this class will necessarily be different from the nuances in relationship with the class the year before and the class that will come next year.

There will always be an adjustment, and what worked the year before may have to be tweaked so that it works for the class this year. This may have to be tweaked further for the class next year, depending on the specific personalities and the capabilities of the students forming that class. With these things in mind, we propose that educators look at education as an enriching dialogue between two unique persons. Education as an Enriching Dialogue between Two Unique Persons We shall divide this idea into three central points in our discussion, even though the different parts of this idea tend to flow into the others and tend to influence one another.

The three central points are: A Dialogue between Two Persons Of course, a dialogue by definition involves at least two persons. Otherwise, it would be a monologue. This just emphasizes the fact that the educational process cannot do away with any one of the two main interlocutors: In the wording of this explanation, we will 2 Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, ab In this sense, we are talking about the entire class as if they were one person since operationally—and viewed as an interlocutor of the teacher—the entire class can be considered as one person.

Breaking up the class into individual persons with each of whom the teacher has to interact is a more complicated matter and could be the subject of a different paper since, in such a case, we cannot apply the E3T method but will have to apply something else.

The utterly passive role of the student in such a scenario brings his personality or effective existence down to zero when it comes to the educational process.

This has certainly brought many problems of a lack of interest to learn. But overdoing the shift to student-centered learning will also bring problems, as we have previously stated above. If we bring down teacher intervention to zero, then the process stops being a dialogue and again becomes a monologue. Teacher monologue causes a lack of interest in the student; student monologue reduces the effectiveness of the learning process because of a lack of a guide for the inexperienced learner.

That said, we might then conclude that the educational process should not be a monologue but a dialogue.

Dialogue and conversation for learning, education and change

A dialogue goes in both directions: It is to be expected, however, that the student will gain more in the process than the teacher although not always so. The dialogue is alive because it is being done by two living beings.

  • A number of students have difficulties in critical thinking, expression and straight thinking; which means that middle education also needs to improve;
  • It entails a particular kind of relationship and interaction.

It does not only communicate words and concepts, but also conveys enthusiasm, value, worth, importance, relevance, interest in the process of the exchange. The information being conveyed or the skill being taught therefore becomes even more meaningful because it is also at the same time something human and not an isolated dead word or just some other task that has to be done.

More on this will be said in the following section. Note that a dialogue normally occurs between two persons that consider themselves equal or nearly equal.

In the teacher monologue, the teacher is seen as highly superior to the student. In a dialogue, both of them are important and both of them are required for the dialogue to take place, for learning to take place. This equality opens the door for the teacher to learn from the student and not only the student from the teacher.

Enriching The dialogue that occurs between the teacher and the student should be enriching. Education, as Altarejos and Naval say3, involves a moving forward, an increase in ability and perfection. Therefore, any activity that occurs between teacher and student that does not produce this improvement is not education. The dialogue is enriching when seen in the direction from the teacher to the dialogue between two friends about importance of self study because, in some sense, the teacher is already an enriched being.

She is supposedly already an educated person. But the intervention done by an educated person on an uneducated person or less educated person is not a matter of a transfer of information. While the teacher can serve as an example to the student, she can never be the one and only model or her status the absolute endpoint of the educational process. Even when they may be talking about the same topics, the teacher may find some topics more meaningful to her, while student realizes that other topics are more meaningful to him.

And yet, the presence of the teacher and her intervention is needed to serve as a catalyst and a guide for the education or self-education of the student. Thus, while a specific teacher cannot be the absolute model of the endpoint for the educational process of the student, she still acts with the benefit of an advantage: In the direction from the student to the teacher, the teacher can actually get new insights from the student. She may find new ways of arranging the topics that could strengthen argumentation or proof.

She may realize better ways of conveying certain ideas and concepts to her students. She may find a mistake or a bias in her thinking because of some conflict with the way the students see the same thing. The students do not even need to teach her anything. With their questions, they already open her mind to new ideas and points of view. Within the educational process itself, she already may discover things that she had never thought of before.

Unique Because of the uniqueness of persons, the dialogue between a teacher and her students in a specific class may be seen as unrepeatable. Of course, we have to admit that there are many similarities among human beings.

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Thus, there are some very foundational things that will always be the same. Otherwise, what is being studied now will have to be a completely different subject altogether next year, and different again every year after that. The uniqueness stems from the fact that each and every person is unrepeatable.

And, if the class is made up of several or many persons, the combination of personalities is also unrepeatable. The teacher, therefore, cannot convey the subject matter in exactly the same way to the detail every year. What do they already know? What skills do they already have? Are they as interested as the previous class in the same topics covered by this subject? Consequences of Education as Dialogue When looking at the present situation of education in Indonesia and comparing it with the ideal of education as dialogue, I would draw the consequences below.

Before that, I would like to clarify that my knowledge of the situation of education in Indonesia is, understandably, incomplete. It is really mind-boggling to recall how some of our lecturers, especially some—not all—of the more elderly ones, would bring out yellowed notecards in class and begin reading them out to us without even lifting their eyes to the class once in a while to see if we are able to follow. More amazing still is our recalling that we thought that that was the most normal thing on earth and that we had no reason to complain.

Having said that, the most significant consequence that I can see is that there should be less emphasis on spelling out the lesson plan to very minute detail. As Gary Thomas says5, a very rigid curriculum may make it easy for the Department of Education to check on the schools and the teachers, but it may also corset the educational process6.