The Pedagogy of Engagement

By John Duley

This is part of a guest series by John Duley. He delineates the problems which confront us in public school education due to the rapid and radical changes occurring in this new Age of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The Problem:  Inadequate Education system for the age of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

This blog is about the pedagogy of engagement.  Russell Edgerton (1997) delivered a white paper to the American Association of Higher Education in which he spelled out the problems confronting higher education and to what his agency, the Pew Charitable Trust, would commit their resources.  In that paper, he characterized the dominant mode of teaching and learning in higher education as teaching and telling, learning by recall. “That mode of instruction fails to help students acquire two kinds of learning that are now crucial to their individual success and critically needed by our society at large. The first is real understanding. The second is ‘habits of the heart’ that motivate students to be caring citizens. Both of these qualities are acquired through pedagogues that elicit intense engagement,” (Edgerton, 1997).  He was talking about project-based learning, problem-solving learning, collaborative learning, and field-based instruction.

“To be a citizen one must not only be informed. One must also care, and be willing to act on one’s values and ideas. Crucial to all the new civic literacies is the development of an emotional identification with the larger community and the belief that, in the face of overwhelming complexity, one individual can make a difference,”  (Edgerton, 1997).

To prepare students for the changes in the ways we work, the skills that schools teach will need to change. For the most basic employment every high school graduate will need to have basic skills in two areas: communication (reading, writing, speaking coherently, and listening), and basic computer skills. But to reach their full potentials they will need to become lifelong learners, capable of adjusting to the radical and rapid changes of the Age of Artificial Intelligence.  Such skills are given minimal treatment in traditional education today.

"To reach their full potentials students will need to become lifelong learners." - John Duley

What is my interest in this problem?

My name is John Duley. During the last fifty years I have been fortunate to have had a number of diverse and rich teaching experiences. From 1964-68, I directed a collaborative project between students and faculty of Michigan State University(MSU) and Rust College, a Black Liberal Arts College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, at the request of the President and Academic Dean. This project was a forerunner of STEM and/or STREAM for incoming freshmen, and helped the college retain its accreditation.  As a result, I was hired by the Dean of a newly-established Justin Morrill College at Michigan State University as the Director of their required full semester Off Campus Cross Cultural Learning Program.

I retired from the university in 1982 as a member of the staff of the Office of Learning and Evaluation Services responsible for working with university faculty as the instructional development consultant. I became Director of Project Learn, a project of the national Council of Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, created to assist colleges and universities looking to serve adult learners better and to help industries to retool their work forces. I helped develop methodology and coached the faculty on its use.

During the last 25 years, I have served as the chair of the Edgewood Village Non-profit Housing Corp., a 135 unit HUD property. HUD properties are properties built with monies provided in the form of a mortgage to non-profit organizations who rent them out to extremely low-income families and individuals who pay 30% of their income; the US Department of Housing and Urban Development makes up the difference between what they pay and the market rent for similar properties.  The families and individuals are extremely poor and usually headed by single parents.  There are 400 individuals and families living in Edgewood Village.  We have developed a college prep program working with young people in the 5th grade through graduation and beyond.

I am laying this out because it is necessary background information to the issue I want to address. My second post in this series will address the current challenges and opportunities in lifelong education.



Edgerton, Russel. American Association of Higher Education White Paper. 1997.


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