Change (and learning)

Learning is about change. Change in terms of creating new understandings and behaviour, and also facilitating change in the student for whatever motivation brought them to the classroom in the first place. People want to be educated because they want to produce change in one or more areas: in employment, in status, in well-being, to find fulfilment.

Seeing things in terms of change reveals something of the job of the teacher too. A large part of a teacher’s job is to adapt their themselves, their style of delivery and the material themselves to the job at hand. They are constantly changing things to suit the moment.

Biggs (2003) argues that education is fundamentally about ‘conceptual change.’ He writes:

“As we learn, our concepts of phenomena change, and we see the world differently. The acquisition of information itself does not bring about such change, but the way we structure that information and think with it does.

Thus, education is about conceptual change, not just the acquisition of information. (p. 13).”

Biggs’s thinking is reminiscent of the famous quote, ‘Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.’