We don’t want to cover a subject, we want to uncover it. Simply telling students information does not allow them to develop their understanding. I have come to realise that my role is to design learning experiences that engage learners in deep thinking about the complexities of subject matter. My expertise is crucial in preparing a ‘testing ground’ that has sufficient depth to enable learners to get at their thoughts about it.
It is important that subject matter is offered to learners in its full complexity. I often tend to feel that my role is to simplify subject matter for learners, turning it into empty shadows. When I simplify subject matter I can make it incomprehensible and meaningless to learners because there is nothing left to connect to.
The learner’s role is to make meaning or sense from the curriculum. Learners need opportunities to establish meaning that holds true for themselves. According to Ramsay (2000), “When prompted to ‘solve’ puzzles that are not puzzling, the potential for meaning-making is limited: students are rendered technicians performing sterile operations”. It is through the very complexities of subject matter that learners gain access to it.