Towards a new definition of the student at the heart of his own learning





Sylvain, Lina

Since the last reform in education, as simple as it may seem, the expression "the student at the heart of his own learning” is also at the core of the unrest that currently prevails in education. If each student is at the heart of his own learning process, then where does the teacher stand? Should the teacher open the path and smooth out the difficulties along the way, observe and guide, or be content to be of service to his students? Before pursuing this reflection, a definition of the term “to educate" is required. Legendre says that the verb to educate “means more than simply teaching, which limits itself to the acquisition of knowledge. To teach means to inform, whereas to educate means to inform and shape at the same time” (1988, p. 220). This distinction between education and instruction is explained further by Labelle (1996), who uses the Greek and Latin etymological origins of the word “education” to understand the axes of interpretation and, therefore, action. For him, the word "education" comes from educare, which means "to nourish, to raise", and applies only to man. He adds that too often the word "education" is interpreted as profiteri, i.e. “that declares itself”. These precisions raise several questions. For instance, what meaning is attached to education (but not instruction or teaching) in a competency-based approach? Does it mean providing information or nourishing (educare) another on the road to knowledge via a learning process? Moreover, would the primarily instructive aspect of the competency-based approach invalidate from the start the educational function of the college teacher?


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