There is a fundamental issue underlying much of the work done in the field of ________ education that has yet to be sufficiently articulated. The issue stems from the fact that ________ education is rooted in the way education generally, and particularly teaching, are conceptualized. Our thinking about is constrained by our understanding of the teaching act and the role of the teacher, which continues to be preoccupied explicit subject matter. It is teaching of, or education about.
Our educational institutions are organized around bodies of content that can be parceled up and taught through some manner of instruction, learned through some manner of sitting with a pencil, and measured through traditional forms of assessment. We like subject matter that can be articulated into tidy educational objectives, to which we can hold teachers and students accountable. These ideas on what education is about form the foundation of our school systems, nicely compartmentalized into subject disciplines, into which teachers specialize, class schedules are organized, and reporting is conducted. School curricula are organized around these disciplines, and place heavy emphasis on knowledge and skills. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, and despite various criticisms, we should concede that our school systems have contributed to incredible advancements over the past 200 years. But what our schools have failed to do is to achieve meaningful progress in relation to ________.
The issue with respect to ________ education lies in our assumptions about what education is. In addition to stuffing students with knowledge and skills, our schools are also socializing agents. This is actually a major part of their value as a public good. ________ isn’t just about knowing things and being able to do stuff. ________ requires us to consider the development of students’ attitudes, character, and dispositions. It is about cultivation and socialization, rather than teaching in the colloquial sense.
With this as a starting point—a kind of cultural baggage—when educators try to advance ________ goals, there is often a dissonance between medium and message. The context in which students are immersed is often at odds with ________ goals. This is not new news. Critical educators have been discussing hidden curricula for decades, and pointing out the various ways in which schools work to perpetuate the status quo. But this discussion tends to be more insightful than constructive. The focus is almost always on describing the situation rather than looking at how it could be changed.
This dissonance between conventional teaching and ________ goals has not been lost on ________ educators. Intuitively understanding that students don’t become ________ists by listening to lectures on ________, there is a long history of using participatory approaches in ________ education. There is also a tendency to try to make ________ education more experiential, to bring in reflection on ________, and to engage students more comprehensively with related topics. A useful distinction can be drawn between education about, for, and in _________. That latter point, the “in ________”, is the most challenging—it requires educators to consider students’ daily experience and how they are being shaped through immersion in a socializing context.
There is a growing awareness of the need to reconsider formal education in broader terms. There appears to be a general recognition that we don’t cultivate ________ists or even people who care about ________ simply through talking and reading about it. The way a classroom is run, and the types of instructional strategies used by teachers, have become important topics of discussion.
More recently, there has been a growing interest the relationship between students and their physical learning environment. This is not limited to plastering school walls with ________ propaganda. It goes much deeper than that to explore the impact that architecture has on students’ development and socialization. The school building has been characterized as a kind of silent teacher, instilling students with strong but subtle lessons about the nature of their relationship with the physical world.
All of these trends are positive, and are pushing at the boundaries of our traditional concepts of education and teaching. All of them are suggesting that education is about something more than teacher talk and textbooks. All of them are acknowledging that it is not only explicit educational content that matters, but that aspects of the educational context are themselves educative. And there is at least a tacit acknowledgement that in ________ education, there should be congruence between content and context.
However, the question of how to work intentionally with the educative context has never sufficiently addressed. Any manipulation of the educative context has tended to be piecemeal rather than systematic, and isolated rather than comprehensive. In order for ________ education to really pack a punch, we need to face the educative context as a whole. It’s not about picking one or two contextual factors and aligning them with ________ content. It is about creating a coherent experience for students in which tacit messages are consistent with explicit ones. We need to re-conceptualize the role of teaching to include the whole tacit domain. Students learn what they live, not just what they’re told, and it is time for our education systems to acknowledge this.