Students, not teachers, are the real workforce of schools

It is not teachers who produce learning, it is students. Indeed, students are the only people in schools who can produce – or decline to produce – learning. Students are workers. Students, not teachers, are the real workforce of schools.

If we look at students as workers and producers, something otherwise hidden swims into view: the nub of it all is the daily work, the labour process, of students. That is where it goes right, or wrong. Consider, as I have belatedly done, not what I was doing in Grade V in 1964 but what Frank Gagliado [a struggling student] was doing. His working day was just as the anthropology of the classroom would lead us to expect: working mostly by himself rather than with others, mostly listening not talking, mostly following instructions rather than figuring out what to do next and how best to do it, mostly having to stop before he’d got the hang of the task and start the next before he knew how to, mostly not really succeeding, often really failing, in his own and his peers’ eyes, all day every day for twelve years. You wouldn’t do that to an adult worker. Why do it to a young one?

Dean Ashenden via http://inside.org.au/frank-gagliados-schooling-a-one-hundred-year-view

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