One thought on “Path Dependence: Explaining Our Collective Resistance to Curricular Innovation

  1. NOTE BY THE AUTHOR: In defence of direct instruction. Without writing a post about our own post, it is probably worth mentioning that there remains a place for direct instruction both within IE and the ‘new’ inquiry model. Just as we cannot ‘be imaginative’ without having grist for the mill, neither may we fairly expect students to ask powerful questions of inquiry without letting them in on the current field of knowledge. This implies CONTENT, and lots of it … a topic for future posts.
    One might, while I have you, question the monkey motif. One of my trusted mentors at SFU used to routinely tell me “all we are is hairless apes”, a phrase I used to value very much everytime I got a little ahead of myself or took myself too seriously. I quite enjoy monkeys, not because of their capacity for high literacy, sense of mission, or advanced moral development of course; these are the domain of human beings proper, particularly we might add, that subspecies we commonly call teachers. Still monkeys enjoy this particular advantage, that they do not appear terribly burdened by the presence of abstractions, identifying labels, or other metaphors which so often shape our Human, All Too Human lives. Reading and writing charitably, I would suggest it a mistake to import any evolutionary sensibility to the post. Neither monkeys nor humans are ‘better’ in any ultimate sense. Likewise, neither traditional, progressive nor inquiry are universally better for every student in every setting…but they are DIFFERENT and it is these differences which are worth pulling apart to understand their relative challenges and merits.

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