Etienne Wenger on Teaching and Learning

In Stephen’s notes on Wenger’s ALT-C talk, Etienne makes this absolutely wonderful comment:

It’s a shift, from learning being viewed as a (vertical) relation between a provider and a recipient, to a (horizontal) peer to peer relationship of negotiation of multual relevance.

Best definition of meaningful learning I’ve heard in ages. I’ve often thought that if a teacher can’t “convince” a student they need to learn a certain “required” subject (i.e., if they can’t demonstrate the relevance of material so supposedly important it was put into the core curriculum), they should not be allowed to teach it. Period. Of course, when the curriculum and assessments are set by the federal government, there is no mutual negotiation of anything. “Open wide,” says the omniscient panel of PhDs….