Tuesday, January 31, 2006

From Teaching to Learning

"In its briefest form, the paradigm that has [traditionally] governed our colleges is this: A college is an institution that exists to provide instruction. Subtly but profoundly we are shifting to a new paradigm: A college is an institution that exists to produce learning. This shift changes everything. . . . We are beginning to recognize that our dominant paradigm mistakes a means for an end. It takes the means or method—called “instruction” or “teaching”—and makes it the college’s end or purpose. To say that the purpose of colleges is to provide instruction is like saying that General Motors’ business is to operate assembly lines or that the purpose of medical care is to fill hospital beds. We now see that our mission is not instruction but rather that of producing learning with every student by whatever means work best" (Barr and Tagg 1995).

Barr, Robert B., and John Tagg. 1995. From Teaching to Learning—A New Paradigm for Undergraduate Education. Change 27 (November/December): 12–25.

1 comment:

Marie Michael Library said...

I particularly like this shift in focus because it accounts for a lot of what goes on at any university... yes, there is the formal learning - what happens in the classroom - but also includes the non-formal and informal learning aspects of a university experience (from classical concerts to indi films to student strikes).