10 May 94
Robert Loss

[quoting Rieber, 7 May 94] Papert contends that "knowledge" to many educators is based on the "cathedral" model where everyday the placement of 20 stones must be carefully planned and arranged. Moving 20 stones a day for 180 days a year for 12 years will result in the desired outcome: a finished cathedral--complete knowledge.

I think the model is flawed in description but correct in reality. Firstly, after working on multi-story building sites for many months I have seen first hand the amount of REBUILDING that goes on during the construction of large structures. Despite seemingly advanced planning, even when the building is almost complete, huge concrete beams and columns are often removed or reshaped while others are put in place. Whole floors are removed and re-laid, new doorways and windows are opened up while others are filled in, whole stair ways are moved sideways, air conditioning cavities remain permanently vacant, pipes rerouted, etc. Why do I know about this? because I was the hired help brought in to do some of these things. Some of these actions were deliberately planned but most were planning or building mistakes AND in very large buildings (especially cathedrals) the building is never ever completed.

As educators we hopefully work in the same way. We build a few structures hang a few things on them, build in further supports, ready to move on?—take away a few supports, build in a few others, etc., etc. The reality of a personal education is also like this. Perhaps educators (facilitators) could be thought of a guides through this maze of building and rebuilding rather than the clinical LEGO approach suggested.

Robert D Loss
Department of Applied Physics
Curtin University
PO BOX U11987 Perth 6001

Phone: +619 351 7747
Fax: +619 351 2377