Thursday, 31 March 2011

LTS: a Socratic Phenomenology

Questions on the initiative denominated:Learning and Teaching Support.
  1. What did you expect from LTS initially?  I approached it rather open-mindedly, assuming that it would offer mostly bureaucratic instructions and commonplace instructions.
  2. Having explored the LTS resources, were your expectations borne out or were you surprised? In what ways do you see this being useful for your own curriculum designs? The system certainly reflects--and thereby helps discern--institutional expectations in conformity with national criteria for social integration.  In this respect, LTS is helpful.  The "Student Feedback" was especially intriguing insofar as it begs the question as to where the demand for para-disciplinarian learning/activities converts into a distraction detrimental to substantive learning.  But in general the resources I explored gave me the impression of concealing an agenda (esp. pertaining to "learning" and "success" or so-called "material culture") behind a gloss of false transparency (cf. e.g. the promise of "authentic learning"). Eerie.
  3. What would you like to see from the LTS initiative? A less (or not at all) instrumentalist approach to learning.  As a monitoring system (esp. via feedbacks and questionnaires...such as the one at hand), LTS might be more effective if it were introduced by a formal clarification of the raison d'être of LTS, including an exploration of the general problems that LTS was set up to respond to (vague intimations are given in various places, e.g., in the section on ancient-language learning).
  4. How do you think about the model of peer-sourced support for curriculum designers? Is it comparable with other institutions you are familiar with? I know of no instances from other institutions, so I am not fit to make inter-institutional comparisons.  In general I remain weary of the project of abstracting means from ends so as to set up an aseptic system of pure means ready-at-hand to be applied to all disciplines of learning for the sake of realizing their respective ends.  The problem here is that once the means (viz., anything that may contribute positively to the success of a discipline of learning) are imposed back upon particular settings from without (e.g., from the alchemic laboratory of a "curriculum designer"), the ends they now point to are no longer "natural" or indigenous to the settings (i.e., to the particular field of investigation).  For means necessarily point to and presuppose ends that reflect the substantive background or immanent form (occasion/motive) of the means.  Once the means are cut off from their original occasion/context, they become means to a necessarily new end, no matter how closely it may resemble old ends.  Thereby the clinically "processed" means serve as Trojan horses for new ends to be injected surreptitiously in principle in every discipline of learning, leading to its radical subversion.  In order to avert this scenario, curricula should be shaped as much as possible from within disciplines themselves, in recognition of their inherent virtue (lest the disciplines be justified merely in function of social approval).  And wherever this were to prove a failure, i.e. where one discipline were to fail to discover its justification independently of foreign demands, then the discipline should be deemed plainly unjustified, instead of being justified ex machina and ad hoc.

1 comment:

  1. At M.T.Cicero has posted the following COMMENT:

    "In general agreement with the post's questioning of the sense of blogs. The very amorphous name (reminiscent of "blob" and "thing") gives rise to legitimate suspicions. Although it is obviously conceivable that here and there a worthy reading appear on a blog, the eccentric, atomistic system of indefinitely many free-floating blogs appears to have been ideated to disintegrate both thought and its natural center of gravity...according to the logic of divide et impera."