Teaching Reforms and Humour

A funny spoof (in French) on education reforms in Quebec since 1960.
L’enseignement à travers les époques – 🙂 & < – by adamsofineti

The “current” buzzphrase in Quebec is «approche par compétences», which could roughly be described as a “performance-oriented approach to learning” or, somewhat more generally, “objective-oriented learning.” The main conceptual tools used in this approach come from socio-constructivism, at least officially.

It’s never a good strategy to make fun of colleagues but I can help but be amazed by how a conference presentation on «approche par compétences» manages to not say anything substantial on the subject. Here’s an iTunes link to that presentation. I’m sure professor Marie-Françoise Legendre is a very thoughtful scholar and that this MP3 version of her talk doesn’t do justice to her presentation, but there’s something about some of these approaches which just, honestly, makes me laugh.

Funnily enough, my father was trained by Jean Piaget who is sometimes associated with constructivist approaches to learning. (In fact, my relativistic/holistic approach to life and anthropology probably relates very directly to some indirect influences from Piaget.) And my favourite Course Management System, Moodle, mentions (social) constructivism and constructionism in its philosophy statement. Many of the pedagogical principles labeled by those buzzphrases are widely accepted and I do personally tend to accept them. At the same time, some pedagogical practises allegedly based on these principles seems almost absurd to me and several colleagues.

An interesting situation, if not a rare one.

2 thoughts on “Teaching Reforms and Humour”

  1. C’est vraiment très très drôle, parce que j’étudie à la HEP Lausanne, où les étudiants sont très très critiques des nouveaux concepts comme l’approche par compétences et le socio-constructivisme.
    Les premiers balbutiements des sciences de l’éducation font vraiment marrer tout le monde, mais je pense que c’est une phase un peu ingrate qui nous aménera lentement vers un peu plus de clarté. Et je pense effectivement qu’un enseignement de qualité s’assortit d’une approche “holistique” des moyens pédagogiques.
    Ce qui me fait marrer, c’est qu’on utilise aussi Moodle, et que ton père vient de Suisse Romande.
    It’s a small, small world…

  2. Sans oublier que j’ai bossé à l’UNIL et que même si ça n’a pas fondé mes idées sur l’enseignement, j’ai des souvenirs assez clairs de certaines réactions d’étudiants là-bas…

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