Distance Education Removing Prejudice?

17 01 2005

I find the below quote very interesting – it connects to the discourse
on distance education creating flexibility for the individual, but also adds
something new I haven’t thought about, distance education actually removing
the physical basis for discrimination. In this case age, but one can easily
apply the same thoughts for gender, ethnicity or class. Incidentally this is
also one of the arguments used in relation to correspondence education: it
is the qualifications and competence that are supposed to stand out when dealing
with correspondence education.

But, needless to say, education is not only about learning professional knowledge
or skills, but also about “entering into a body of social conduct” what
Berner calls “savoir faire” – and this is something correspondence
education has a hard time providing, as there are no socializing interactions
in correspondence education classes.

I’ve just watched an amazing
documentary about gifted Swedish children
on Swedish channel 4 – a
ten-year-old music genius composing his own postlude, a nine-year-old soccer
professional (almost), and an eleven-year-old chess master. The one making
the biggest impression on me, though, was ten-year-old Emma, the youngest
member of Swedish Mensa, who
always has been ahead of her class and is a real math genius. A recurring
theme during the documentary was how Swedish teachers not are sufficiently
prepared to work with gifted students, and how these students are often
held back in order to not disturb the rest of the class. Emma has found
a solution to this. She is enrolled in a class with which goes on excursions
and so on, but she takes her lessons via distance education. The principal
of her school (I unfortunately didn’t catch the name of neither
her nor the school) talked about the importance of seeing Emma as a person,
not as a child. I think that distance education can definitely be of great
help in this process – it should be much easier for teachers to treat Emma
as a talented and smart individual rather than as a child when communicating
with her via media that do not always remind them about her actual age.
A nice exemplification of the good old, often utopian view that the internet
can help break down our strongest prejudices.

Distance education for the gifted




One response

18 01 2005

You have been observed by Enblogomdan.

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