Friday, August 02, 2013

Gatekeepers of a Different Kind: Virgil not NSA


  • Sometimes I think that we need to ask this question because it is at the root of so much of what learning is all about:  who has the power?  Our learners, young or old, are in a state of wanting the power they think we have when they need to be tapping what they already have to get more of what they need.  And what is this power?  First, each of us is the product of millions of years of sometimes brutal natural selection and our DNA is the tightly helixed core of that power both instinctive and conscious.  Second, our system of government while highly in need of perfection has created learning pathways, some highly formalized (degree granting) and others highly informalized (#clmooc, public libraries, shared experience). These are dynamos for sharing The Knowledge as London cabbies call it.

    Teachers are in fact gatekeepers for good, for sharing, and for knowledge but you rightly flatten the hierarchy.  I prefer to think of them as gatekeepers of another kind.  They open doors to every single person and they make sure that there is equitable access to the dozen adjacent possible doors of power beyond them.  We are also the Virgil to their Dante at times, concierge to the hell that is the status quo for some of them.  Ideally, we want to be their Beatrice guiding to the gates of heaven. That kind of gatekeeping is not likely.

    My feelings about gatekeeper function are mixed.  I do not entirely agree that we don't need to be gatekeepers, but I agree that we don't want to be like God in her heaven parsing out the sheep from the goats like we do now.  Learning and knowledge are not scarce resources.  Let's not treat them as such.

Perhaps we can think of ourselves as 'gatekeep-peers'?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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