mw. “Curriculum 21 – Did the dice fall? New learning techniques or paradigm shifts?” The “Verein ostschweizer Kinderärzte” (Association of Paediatricians from Eastern Switzerland) organised a panel discussion with Michael Furger, head of the “NZZ am Sonntag” department as a capable moderator. In the large plenary hall of the University of Applied Sciences St Gallen, which was occupied to the last seat, the pedagogue Dr phil Matthias Burchardt (Cologne) and the secondary school teacher Alain Pichard from Biel have given two top-class keynote speeches. In the ensuing lively discussion, Alexander Kummer (Head of the St. Gallen Primary and Secondary School Office) and Prof Thomas Burri (St. Gallen College of Education) also took part.
Since an excessively concise summary could not do justice to the many facets of the event, the presentation by Dr Matthias Burchardt is to be introduced here.
Matthias Burchardt brought his experience with current school reforms in Germany to bear and stated right from the start that this was a clear paradigm shift. The educational paradigm of Comenius from the 17th century, according to which the teacher shows the pupil the world, the reality, is still valid today. The pedagogical constellation makes education possible in the first place. In today’s school reforms (digitalised, self-organised learning) this indispensable personal dimension of education is lost. Of course, the child must always grasp reality itself, but constructivism leaves the relationship between teacher and student outside. The OECD and EU lobbyists have succeeded in overturning the humanist tradition of education and in establishing an economic model by introducing “new ideas” and “standard setting” (as an instrument of power), with which it is also possible to earn a good living. Any resistance from teachers is broken by control methods such as change management and by constant study of observation sheets, “further training” and inclusion classes that are barely manageable.
The “self-organised learning SOL” according to OECD and Bertelsmann imposes sole responsibility for its learning on the “learner” – an unrelated, ageless (“lifelong learning”) and robot-like being. With SOL, students learn very little: short learning phases, missing corrections, no protection against disturbances in the “office” area, while the teachers are under constant stress and have no time to teach the children. Digitisation is the continuation of this: decoupling from the teacher and coupling to the machine. With the help of the Knewton software, for example, thousands of data on each pupil and teacher are collected and the future status of each pupil is calculated in advance – paving the way for a two-class society.
In Germany, these school reforms have failed because of their unsuitability, as many teachers warned from the very beginning (so-called “resistance”): Enormous numbers of high-school graduates hide the inability to study of a large part of the academic youth, inclusion has not achieved its goal of greater social justice, but on the contrary, has increased the gap between the scissors. At best, a poorly educated section of the population is provided for basic activities of the digitised industry 4.0. Apart from this questionable result, however, even the economic success of the “economisation of education” failed to materialise. After all, analogue learning also prepares students better for the digitalised world than computer-based actions from an early age.
The speaker recommends that the Swiss participants draw conclusions from the German experiences and not to participate in the school reforms described. We Swiss would have the democratic possibilities, Matthias Burchardt correctly stated. Let’s use them! •
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