Achieving Mastery without Pedagogy Wars

February 12, 2014 at 12:04 PM Leave a comment

One of the keys to education reform, in my humble opinion, is to bring an end to pedagogy wars, those binary arguments that have resulted in fads in pedagogy that swing like a pendulum. Not only is the winning style guaranteed to miss the mark for some of the children all of the time…any solution that limits the approaches to teaching and learning has been rendered obsolete by technological innovation.

The new darling of pedagogy seems to be competency-based learning. And I am glad to hear it, hope it is here to stay…as an essential element in the mosaic of hybrid approaches to teaching and learning.

Competency-based learning has been overlooked by educators for too long. Proponents of project-based learning have actively eschewed its methods, presuming that it does not align well with their more synthetic approach to algorithms. Grade-level organizations have neglected it more passively in search of a common denominator among students. And technology-poor learning centers have been overwhelmed by implementation worries. Unfortunately, the result has been to frustrate many students as they attempt critical thinking without tools that may be essential to their success, undermining their motivation and persistence as problem-solvers.

So where does competency-based learning fit into a student-centered practice? It can form the backbone of a system for students in alternative education programs – students who truly have their own pathways to mastery. It would seem like a great segue back to the classroom for students re-engaging in school. It could be used diagnostically to inform grade level instruction, or as a program for development of prerequisite knowledge as students move apart to pursue individualized goals, then, come together again with diverse styles empowered by knowledge. Or it could exist within a mosaic of learning opportunities, a hybrid model of learning that blends traditional classroom learning, personalized interactive online lessons in or out of school, and social engagement for group problem-solving.

Just promise, please, please, please, that we will not toss aside everything else we know to be good for student learning. Thank you.


Entry filed under: Pedagogy.

A Vision for Information and Pedagogy Finding the Gestalt in Competency-Based Learning

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