‘Learnism’ in the Classroom?

Some really really interesting comments already on the Times Higher website for this piece:

It might seem perverse to suggest that students should not attend and participate in class. But surveillance is an insidious trend intended largely to make them conform to behavioural expectations rather than develop them academically. This approach has been described by Leonard Holmes, reader in management at the University of Roehampton, as “learnerism”. At the heart of the discourse, which also underpins the learning and teaching certificates aimed at novice academics, is the idea that since learning needs to be a social process of knowledge construction, students must be active participants. It also chimes with employer needs for students with social skills suited for the workplace, while the justification of group assessment conveniently benefits the economics of mass higher education by reducing the assessment workload.

Ironically, learnerism largely ignores the right of students to learn in different ways and to be reticent. Research has shown that people learn through silence as well as discussion. Pedagogy should respect the autonomy of students and their cultural norms – it should not be like a game show in which they have to demonstrate some kind of personal transformation.

Read full story. It’s not a debate with any easy answers, and has ramifications for debates about presenteeism in the workplace (which some argued the summer Olympics was going to transform – with ‘working from home’ recognised) … I’ve had jobs where I’ve had to be in particular times and sit there for the first 2 hours trying to wake up … thankfully not at the moment – and consequently far more creative!