“There is no way to help a learner to be disciplined, active, and thoroughly engaged unless he perceives a problem to be a problem or whatever is to-be-learned as worth learning, and unless he plays an active role in determining the process of solution” – Neil Postman.
There must be incentive for any action or it will not be performed, no matter how trivial or noble. Therefore, it is impossible to truly teach a student if they do not want to learn, no matter how great the teacher is or how optimal the curriculum happens to be. Once the student places value on what taught, it becomes second nature to learn. There are two complementary components to this:
- The subject/topic/problem has to be worth learning or solving, and
- The student has to play an active role in the process.
In this scenario, the teacher guides and stimulates the learning process, and the student is ultimately in control of their own learning. The learning process becomes student-centred, where the learning of a specific subject is guided by the student’s interest, abilities, values and motivations. It allows for explorations of subjects, not in an equal weighting, but according to the student’s preferences. The curriculum becomes a programme of “suggested topics”, and puts the teacher in a mentorship role. In this scenario, it is not possible to have rigid outcomes or indicators for every topic in the curriculum.
Ultimately, it is a matter of quality over quantity in education. From my own experience, most students do not remember the majority of the subject matter after the class is long over, but they do remember the topics they were interested in, and when they could actively participate in their own learning.