Part I: Defining the Field 1
Part I Defining the Field This page intentionally left blank DEFINING THE FIELD INTRODUCTION David Crabbe We have at one time all been learners in a formal education system. Within that system, we played our role as learners in the same classroom drama as teachers played their role as teachers. The exact nature of the roles varied according to context and the personalities involved but it is not difficult to suggest some universals in those roles. The core responsibility of a teacher in formal education has always been to present, to explain, to encourage, to set standards and to assess. The core responsibility of the learner has always been to seek and display understanding and skill, to apply knowledge, to achieve standards. These respective core responsibilities are almost part of the definition of a learner and a teacher and one cannot imagine them being seriously challenged. In recent times, however, there has been a serious challenge, not so much to the core responsibilities listed above, as to the degree of control the learner might have in deciding how the responsibilities are performed and to what purposes. This is a challenge to the role relationship between learners and teachers. There have always been individual teachers in different societies who have challenged traditional interpretations of learner roles, but the challenge is currently something that might be described as a 'movement': an attempt by an international group of educationists to examine the relative roles of teachers and learners. The questioning of learner and...
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