Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Response to Dan Brown's Video "An Open Letter to Educators"


A couple days ago, I watched Dan Brown’s video entitled “An Open Letter to Educators”, which was talking about how education should be in 21th century. In this writing, I will argue my agreement for the points that he mentioned, and my critics to the some of his statements.


Firstly, he said that education is about empowering students to change the world for their better life. I do agree with that because students are humans and education should approach them as humans. I believe humanism is appropriate foundation philosophy in learning and teaching processes. As Tangney said (2014), the conception of learning according to humanist is empowerment, emancipation, confidence, self-believe, trust and emotional activities. Therefore, teachers have to assist the pupils to get those concepts, so they will be able to change their lives. 


Moreover, he said that because the world is changing, the teachers should also be changing. Of course this is true because teachers who cannot adapt with alteration will be left behind, then will result in ineffective teaching. Consequently, the students will get the negative impact for this such as bored, unmotivated, confused, and feeling fall behind. Maybe this is what Dan Brown implied so he dropped out of his school.


Talking about his dropping out, however, I am still confused about his reason. He said that he dropped out of the school because the school was interfering with his education. What did he mean about interfering? That is fine if interfering was that “the school was hindering him to learn independently”. But, if the school giving him some instructions and rules in his education was interpreted as interfering, I think that is wrong since school, teachers and students are one unit. They must interact each to get best results. Effective communication is the key to do that. 


One of the changes that Brown suggested was education institutions should adapt to landscape of the information age. This means the institutions should run the system based on computers, digital and the internet. This is a good idea for those who have enough access to those facilities. However, if we want to talk in global context, there are still a lot of countries that do not have those facilities. Let’s take an example. Indonesia is an archipelago country possessing 17.500 islands. Wow, can we imagine how many those are? Educational institutions in big cities in Indonesia have already applied learning based on information age, but not yet in small and rural islands. The government is very difficult to reach some of them. The children over there have a simple dream. Instead of thinking about using online learning; they just want to get textbooks and studying in buildings with teachers standing in the classes.


The last but not least, the existence of the teachers makes us feel optimistic about the world. The world needs and will always need the teachers. Teachers take big responsibilities in human civilization. In the formal institutions, learners need to be assessed, trained, and given positive values. But a student cannot acquired those treatments if he/she is just looking the information by himself/herself.


My closing statement is if the teachers cannot change as the world changes, it does not indicate the teachers are not needed by the world any more, but this means, the world loses its heroes.


Tangney, S 2014, 'Student-centred learning: A humanist perspective', Teaching in Higher Education, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 266-275.

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