TRADITIONAL TEACHING PARADIGM: EVALUATION AND 'GRADES'.
theme: The traditional teaching paradigm is based on the assumption that education is a matter of conditioned learning and depends on the non-developing passive role of the student. The passive student is motivated by motivating devices which are external to the learning process such as the punishment/reward system of 'grades'. Emphasis on grades contributes to declining motivation because it ignores human instinctive motives for learning behaviour i.e. 'human needs'.
Traditional paradigm: learning is a matter of conditioned learning or 'conditioning' The traditional paradigm of education originated with the idea of preparation for the 'needs of society'. The assembly line model of the school was conceived for the purposes of training the masses for work in the factory i.e. 'schooling'. The forced learning of schooling is task oriented and replaces the meaningful learning of life experience. Traditional methods of teaching are based on the assumption that the driving force or 'motivation' for learning depends on motivating devices and forces of material gain which are extrinsic to the learner - rewards such as diplomas, prizes, awards, scores and 'grades'. Motivation based on extrinsic conditions is 'extrinsic motivation'. Learning based on extrinsic motivation is conditioned learning or 'conditioning'. Emphasis on extrinsically motivated conditioning is a reflection of the materialist values of capitalism as 'commercialism' and 'consumerism'. In the interests of consumerism, the traditional teaching paradigm succeeds in the promotion of fear which restricts growth and fosters 'adult immaturity'.
The grading system as a device for motivation in cultural context Grades are useful not only in the process of finding employment with industry but with the 'industries' of society such as the 'medical industry' and the 'industry of education'. The function of the grading system is to prepare students for the cultural emphasis on material values i.e. 'hidden curriculum'. Students really learn that good grades mean good jobs, good jobs mean good business, good business means a comfortable life and social 'success'. Achievement of success and avoidance of 'failure' have particular meaning in the context of capitalist culture as commercialism and consumerism i.e. 'cultural context'. The competitive grading system is used to coerce students to adapt to the system.
GRADES IN THE CULTURE OF CAPITALISM In school, good grades are the means to college. College education is for a 'good job'. Good job means good money and comfortable materialistic life. The danger of the grading system - children evaluate their whole person on the basis of their grade. Grades are not perceived solely as an academic evaluation. Children naturally evaluate themselves. Adult evaluation influences their innate process of self-evaluation. Grades are used to coerce children to 'perform' to their liking. They are used for the manipulation of children's thought and behavior patterns. Children's capacity for inquiry and learniong is hindered by teacher's focus on grades. Inspire children with love for learning, not love for grades. Materialist values are conveyed by focusing on grades. 'Good grades mean a good job and good money'. Educate for maturity and the 'value-life'. High grades foster false confidence. Low grades foster feelings of inferiority. Power of example is greater than the power of direction. Teacher sets an example - meaning of 'role model'. How increase children's self-esteem? Children have natural desire to learn and express themselves. Real learning and hard work result in genuine satisfaction with one's own efforts and elevated self-esteem. Pressures of a grading system inhibit the learning process. Lessons important for both knowledge and maturity are cognitive and affective. Valuable personal qualities which go beyond sound academic knowledge are the human qualities which enhance life, and which inspire and develop in others a respect for human talent and accomplishments and wisdom and which inspire the process of learning itself...
Disadvantages of conditioned learning as 'passive learning' The process of conditioned learning involves the imposition on the brain of set patterns of facts and procedures which are repeated and memorized i.e. 'rote learning'. Rote learning is evaluated on the basis of performance on objective tests and measured in terms of the conventional punishment/reward system of grades and 'grade averages'. The disadvantage of the learner's dependence on grades is that it can alienate the learner from their own personal sense of achievement. This results in a decline of motivation and 'passive learning'. Under these conditions thinking becomes increasingly rigid until the indidual becomes prisoner of their own mind. Subsequent learning which might be perceived as a threat to their sense of identity and self-organization will tend to be resisted.
Passive learning results is a function of authoritarian teaching as 'passive teaching' Learner passivity is a natural result of the authoritarian teaching model or 'passive teaching'. Passive teaching is characteristic of traditional education which is based on the assumption that knowledge is finite and unchanging. Education for the possession of such knowledge brings the power to control the future i.e. 'banking education'. In the context of banking education knowledge is perceived as a gift which can be bestowed on those who don't have it by those who do. The teacher is considered as a primary authority who makes claims to a monopoly of knowledge and whose function it is to transfer their knowledge to the learner whose ignorance justifies the teacher's authoritarian role.
Passive teaching ignores human motives for learning or 'human needs' The aim of passive teaching is to maintain the teacher's position and status and so requires an authoritarian approach to learner evaluation in terms of a punishment/reward system of grades. Strategies or 'teaching techniques' are devised in order to manipulate imagination and thinking... to coerce students to perform successfully on tests. Specific predetermined 'learning outcomes' such as successful performance on tests form the basis for the design of lessons i.e. 'lesson plans'. Under these conditions, teachers become concerned with student performance as a reflection of their own and in this way they unwittingly defend their positions and protect their institutions. The use of grades makes it possible to monitor teacher in terms of student performance. When teachers are under pressure to perform then the grades can be used as advantage points. If teacher's concerns are deflected away from student concerns then the result is declining motivation and so-called 'educational crisis'. Educational crisis is a result of teachers' dependence on the non-developing passive rol.e of students and the lack of respect for their own motives for behaviour i.e. 'human needs'. Human needs include the basic psychological needs for self-esteem - the 'ego-needs' - and also the needs for spiritual growth i.e. spiritual needs or 'metaneeds'. Fulfillment of metaneeds is a function of development of moral consciosness or 'conscience'. The conscience or 'soul' is the source of 'human values'.
The teacher's dependence on the non-developing passive role of the student is counterproductive because it does nothing for personal growth and development. When teachers emphasize conditioning and predetermined learning outcomes, their energies are deflected away from students' needs. Needs for personal development require learners to evaluate their own achievement i.e. 'self-evaluation'. The grading system ignores the psychological value of work. The simplistic evaluation and assessment system of grading can be destructive and demotivating if children cannot differentiate between evaluation of the self and evaluation of their achievement. Without appropriate differentiation, high grades foster false confidence and low grades foster inferiority feelings. Appropriate self-evaluation can only proceed in a climate in which it does not threaten the perception of self. The method of learner evaluation must account for the need for self-respect, for realistic self-confidence, for recognition of genuine achievement, and for the development of a positive concept of self or 'self-image'. In the process of evaluating themselves, children are naturally influenced by the evaluation of significant adults. Natural learning involves self-correction. In the absence of threat, the natural process of learning involves the correction of one's own errors. When threat to the self is low, then experience is perceived and assimilated objectively, error is differentiated from the concept of self and correction of error is appropriately assimilated. The correction of error plays an important role in personal growth and development. Learning which involves a change to the perception of self and self-organization is threatening and tends to be resisted.
Passive teaching alienates learning from personal growth and the construction of conscience or 'soul' The passive teaching model is counter-productive because it emphasizes predetermined learning outcomes, grades and conditioned learning and ignores human needs and human values. It does not contribute to personal growth and development of conscience. Emphasis on the learning of objective or 'symbolic knowledge' prevents the development of subjective understanding through inner knowledge or 'intimate knowledge' which contributes to the construction of conscience i.e. 'intuition'. Intuition is immediate apprehension without reasoning i.e. perceptiveness or 'insight'. Degree of insight depends on extent of awareness or consciousness i.e. 'consciousness state'. Consciousness state is a function of the moral stage of development which the individual has reached i.e. 'socio-cognitive stage'. Sociocognitive stages are natural stages of personality development which depend on the individual's capacity to evaluate their own creativity, productiveness and achievement i.e. 'work'.
Natural learning in non-threatening environment involves self-evaluation The method of learner evaluation must account for the need for self-respect, for realistic self-confidence, for recognition of genuine achievement, and for the development of a positive self-image. The process of 'self-evaluation' is of extreme importance in the individual's construction of conscience. Even while evaluating themselves during growth and development, the young are naturally influenced by significant adults whose evaluation might be detrimental or beneficial depending on their own level of maturity. Appropriate self-evaluation can only proceed in a climate in which it does not threaten the individual's concept of self or 'self-image'. When threat to the self is low or absent the natural learning involves the correction of one's own errors or 'self-correction'. Self-correction is a involves the natural process of perceiving the experience of error objectively. When error is differentiated from the concept of self then the correction of error is assimilated appropriately. In this way the correction of error has an important function in personal growth and development. If the individual is unable to differentiate between evaluation of their achievement and evaluation of their self-image, then the simplistic evaluation and assessment system of grading can be destructive and demotivating. Without appropriate differentiation, high grades foster false confidence and feelings of 'superiority' which result in motivation of deficiency i.e. 'deficit motivation'; low grades foster lack of confidence and feelings of 'inferiority' which result in demotivation.
Declining motivation and the 'educational crisis' When learners become dependent on forces external to themselves - desire for success and high grades, fear of failure and low grades - they are alienated from their own sense of achievement. It is the alienation of the learning process from the sense of self or 'identity' which is the likely cause for declining motivation and declining 'standards' of the current educational crisis. Objective evaluation in the form of grades can be counterproductive if it does not correlate with self-evaluation. Subjective evaluation is appropriate for work which is based on the natural capacity for observation and inquiry or 'curiosity'.
Curiosity as natural driving force of 'intrinsic motivation' Curiosity is the natural driving force for the human capacity for initiative and sustained attention i.e. 'intrinsic motivation'. Hindrance to the development of natural powers of intrinsic motivation prevents the development of the powers of rational thought or 'reason'. Prevention of the development of reasoning power interferes with the natural development of the capacity for critical thinking and understanding of concepts... 'conceptual understanding'. Critical thought is a precondition for the capacity for discerning and appropriate understanding of one's nature ... the nature of the human personality i.e. 'human nature'. Knowledge of human nature is 'self-knowledge'. Self-knowledge is possible with growth through learning in a non-authoritarian learning environment i.e. 'freedom'.
Implications for education In the context of culturally based requirements and standards of traditional educational institutions, grades are used for purposes of coercion in the preparation of the individual for industrial civilisation. However the grading system becomes increasingly irrelevant to the needs of the individual for adaptation to the demands of modern 'post-industrialism' of the 'information age. Adaptation to the social conditions of the 'new age' depends on an education for maturity and self-realisation or 'self-actualisation'. Self-actualisation is the result of human growth and development which increases the person's autonomy and independence of the environment i.e. 'adaptability'. Adaptability depends on education of the whole person i.e. 'holistic education'. Holistic education is education for responsible freedom. In the holistic paradigm of education the teacher's function can be described in terms of the facilitation of learning, encouragement of initiative and intrinsic motivation and promotion of learner self-evaluation i.e. 'facilitator'. The facilitative teacher inspires the love for learning with the a power of which far greater than the powerof 'authority as direction' (power of 'authoritarianism') and that is the power of 'authority as example' (power of 'authoritativeness').
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THE GRADING SYSTEM AS A DEVICE FOR MOTIVATION In the traditional paradigm, methods of teaching are based on the assumption that effective learning is a matter of conditioning. Conditioned learning is based on external conditions and rewards - diplomas, prizes, awards - which reflect the materialist values of capitalist culture. Motivation for learning which is based on external forces and extrinsic rewards is 'extrinsic motivation'. Extrinsic motivation is the driving force for learning when used for purposes of coercion within the context of culturally based requirements and standards of traditional educational institutions. They are useful in the process of finding employment with industry and the 'industries' of society such as the 'industry of education'. Good grades mean good jobs, good jobs mean business and social 'success' and a comfortable life. In this way, grades are
GRADES AND PASSIVE LEARNING Emphasis is placed on the 'objective' aspects of learning or 'symbolic' knowledge and there is little concern for subjective or 'intimate' knowledge of understanding. Most learning is by a process of conditioning in which set patterns of facts and procedures are imposed on the brain by repetition and memorization i.e. 'rote learning'. Rote learning is evaluated on the basis of performance on objective tests and measured in terms of a conventional punishment/reward system of scores, grades and grade averages. Dependence on grades alienates the learner from their own sense of achievement. Their learning becomes 'passive' and they become prisoners of their own minds.
AUTHORITARIAN TEACHING Passive learning is a natural result of authoritarian teaching. In the traditional paradigm, the teacher is a primary authority who makes claims to a monopoly of the knowledge which is taught. The teacher's function is to transmit the knowledge to others who don't have it. Strategies or 'teaching techniques' are devised in order to manipulate imagination and thinking. Lesson plans are designed around specific predetermined 'learning outcomes' which include successful performance on tests. Student performance is used to monitor teacher performance and student grades are used as advantage points. Teachers become concerned with student performance as a reflection of their own. In this way they unwittingly become defendants of their positions and protectors of their institutions. They depend on student passivity to maintain their status.
DECLINING MOTIVATION AND THE EDUCATIONAL 'CRISIS'. Dependency on extrinsic rewards for learning is the likely cause for declining 'standards' and declining motivation of the current 'crisis' in education. Objective evaluation in the form of grades is counterproductive as a method of evaluation of learning. Dependence on extrinsic motivation contributes to declining motivation because it hinders the capacity for observation and inquiry or 'curiosity'. Curiosity is the natural driving force for intrinsic motivation. Hindrance to the development of natural powers of intrinsic motivation prevents the development of the human powers of reason. Prevention of the development of reasoning power interferes with the natural development of the human capacity for conceptual understanding and critical thinking. The inability to think critically interferes with understanding of concepts. Critical thought is a precondition for the capacity for self-evaluation which is discerning and appropriate. IMPLICATIONS FOR EDUCATION The punishment/reward system of grading becomes increasingly irrelevant to the needs of the individual in the modern post-industrial age. Adaptation to the requirements of the social conditions of post-modernism depends on an education for maturity and human values.. for self-actualization or 'self-realization' i.e. an education for initiative and intrinsic motivation... self-evaluation... 'adaptability'.
Education for intellectal and moral development becomes increasingly relevant. The teacher becomes a facilitator whose role is to facilitate learning, encourage initiative, intrinsic motivation and learner self-evaluation. The facilitative teacher inspires the love for learning with a power which is greater than the power of direction - the power of example. Return to top of page/ Return to Introduction/ Return to Homepage Text for printout links: traditional education, traditional paradigm, extrinsic motivation, knowledge, rote learning, intrinsic motivation, work, self-evaluation, facilitator traditional education... Traditional education was conceived for purposes of training for the factory. traditional paradigm... In the traditional paradigm, education for the 'needs of the society' is necessarily task oriented and depends on the non-developing passive role of the student. Passive learning is evaluated using a punishment/reward system of 'grades'. extrinsic motivation... Motivation based on external or 'extrinsic' rewards is 'extrinsic motivation'. knowledge... In the traditional paradigm of education, emphasis is placed on the 'objective' aspects of learning or 'symbolic' knowledge and there is little concern for the subjective or 'intimate' knowledge of understanding. rote learning... Most learning is by a process of conditioning in which set patterns of facts and procedures are imposed on the brain by repetition and memorization i.e. rote learning. work... Personal development requires that learners evaluate their own achievement, their own 'work'. intrinsic motivation... Curiosity is the natural driving force for intrinsic motivation. self-evaluation... Needs for personal development require learners to evaluate their own achievement i.e. 'self-evaluation'. facilitator... The teacher becomes a facilitator who inspires the love for learning with the power of example respects the learner's intrinsic motivation, encourages initiative and self-evaluation.