From: Christie M. Thomas
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Date: 06 Oct 1996
Eugene you asked the question do I think that educational structure can be constantly constructed by the teacher and children collaboratively together?
For the most part I think that it can... yet in your question you used the word "constantly" which may not be possible. You mention flexiblity in a previous post and I think that is key. A structured environment (by the teacher)is rigid and it doesn't allow for the variations and uniqueness of kids, their aptitudes, and their interests... For learning to happen and be benefical to the kids it must be flexible and responsive to the uniqueness of kids. I don't know if I'd go as far to say that it is easier to continue to teach kids in these formalized environments but it would take a lot more time, openess, and resources to teach kids an a more flexible, responsive, and kid-centered way.
what would that kind of educational environment look like?
Well this course is an example of that kind of environment. Each student in the course and you as the professor bring something unique to the course and we are constantly constructing learning (ie. use of the class web site to do what we are doing right now, collaborating on a topic that was raised by another student to enhance our own ideas and learning, etc.) This does take much more time than the traditional 'lecture on the material, read your text, and come in tommorrow for your exam' type of learning environment. It takes individual attention and responsiveness and I'm not sure we have enough class space, and teachers to do it.
Also - the fact that we are adults in this course and we are talking about grade school kids on the other hand may also have something to do with us being able to construct our learning environment in this way.