5.36: Electronic Technology Can Help Turn Development Inside Out

There are two basic views of the teaching process.24 The traditional view is that it is an outside-in process in which the teacher passes on the accumulated wisdom of the culture to the next generation. It is a sort of psychic transplant operation. The alternative view is that it is an inside-out process in which the teacher arranges congenial environments to help draw out the intrinsic potential of the learner. Both views contain some of the truth. The student is learning from the outside in and growing from the inside out. The important issue is the optimal orchestration of outside-in learning with inside-out growing.

When traditional education was established, the outside-in view was perhaps appropriate. There was not much information available in the community and the teacher could view himself/ herself as a repository of useful information. Communities in developing countries often suffer from a paucity of information as in those early days of developed nations. Electronic technology can help solve this problem. With the Library of Congress quite literally at your fingertips, each small community need not stock up with expensive, immediately-obsolete books. They can all share a common databank which can be updated daily.

Those devices can not replace teachers. They can, however, perform the mechanical outside-in information-supplying function and thus free the teacher for the more human inside-out inspiration-creating function. Intelligence is a function not of innate ability but of information-rich environments in which we all share.

24   Gardiner, W. Lambert, The Psychology of Teaching. Monterey, California: Brooks/Cole, 1980.