re: 25 years of Ed Tech by Weller
The sage is dead. We live in a world where modern science is advanced by many, we no longer see individual scientists rise to the fame of Einstein or Darwin. Thus the shift in the role of the educator from “the sage on the stage” to “the guide on the side” seems natural. It might work in some or even most fields, yet it feels wrong when it comes to teaching personality psychology. The main reason is that psychology is not an exact science. There are behaviours, but they are open to interpretation. There are categories, but they are fuzzy. The only way to understand theory is to apply it in social interactions, make many mistakes, analyze your mistakes and repeat this process until you start making so few mistakes that you become a sage. Most people don’t like to make mistakes. Most people don’t like to admit they made a mistake. It is easier to accept constructive criticism if it comes from someone significantly above you in a hierarchy of competency, rather than below or at the same level. It takes a sage to make other sages. Constructivism in psychology, without the presence of a sage, often makes things worse because learners construct their own interpretations of an already fuzzy science. Consider a seemingly simple task of determining whether someone is an introvert or an extrovert. There is an extensive theory that can be used to teach someone to relatively easily detect extreme cases, but no theory can help differentiate an inborn introvert displaying a learned preference for extroverted behaviours from an inborn extrovert displaying a learned preference for introverted behaviours. There is no blood test for it. There is no 100% (or even 75%) accurate psychological test for it. It takes a sage to see that difference because they’ve seen this pattern in thousands of variations and developed a very nuanced wisdom that cannot be shared and absorbed through language only. It can only be acquired through practice. Sages make mistakes too, therefore worshiping them on the stage no longer makes sense, but they can still play an important role on the side. Replacing them with a guide is a disservice to learners.