This essay reflects on the role of the main learning theories in the delivery of the illustration curriculum. Each theory is introduced by way of a brief summary. I then discuss its merits and / or drawbacks and show how it fits in with teaching illustration as a discipline. Having set the scene from the point of view of contextual theory I reflect briefly on my own developing teaching practice giving an example of how I applied my knowledge of the learning theories to develop and to support meaningful interaction in the classroom in order to achieve both main objectives of teaching in my discipline: fostering scholarship (or “strengthen the development and advancement of communicative expression” as expressed by C. Rojas (2015)) and supporting our students in becoming independent learners.
Published on 15th March 2020 | Written by Camelia Burn | Photo by British Library on Unsplash
This reflective piece is written as part of my studies towards a Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Education (PGCert), undertaken at the University for the Creative Arts, and in response to a task requiring us to evaluate the main learning theories we studied in the first weeks of the course. More specifically, we were asked to consider how being aware of these learning theories can help facilitators better understand and help their students through their learning journeys. In order to narrow down the focus of this task, I directed my reflection to the field of illustration. I also linked the theories to some of the signature pedagogies experienced as an illustration student, as “they implicitly define what counts as knowledge in a field and how things become known” (Schulman, D 2005). I chose to focus on illustration because I identified it as the discipline I want to teach at higher education (HE) level on completion of the course, and also because it is the one in which I have the most recent experience as a student.
In order to evaluate learning theories in the context of teaching illustration at graduate and postgraduate levels, it is important to establish first what this creative discipline is concerned with. Defined loosely, based on my own study and acquired knowledge of the subject, ‘illustration’ comes from the Greek “to illuminate”, therefore meaning to cast light over something, to reveal, to communicate its meaning. Sometimes this is done through creating empathy with the viewer (as more widely discussed during a panel talk on refugees and migration issues tackled visually through graphic novels, which was held at the House of Illustration in March 2019), therefore mastery of the subject requires additional mastery of visual communication techniques. The last phrase ‘visual communication techniques’ is key. The requirement for the mastery of such techniques makes it difficult to separate illustration completely from drawing (“drawing is its structural foundation” (Rojas, C 2015) or mark making, therefore knowledge acquisition will require learning some basic technical skills around drawing. These form one of the foundation blocks in the study of illustration as a discipline.
Why teach illustration and why look at teaching in this context?
“Research on teaching and practising illustration aims to explore and identify the tools necessary to enhance learning and strengthen the development and advancement of communicative expression.” (Rojas, C. 2015)
In this essay I take the theories of learning I have studied and reflect on their application to the discipline that interests me. This is to reveal the tools that helped me in my journey as an illustration student and which are likely to help my students become better visual communicators. Each theory is introduced by way of a brief summary, the content of which relies on my understanding of the text from Aubrey and Riley (2019) and course notes I made while listening to group discussions, presentations and tutor introduction of the subject matter. Towards the end of the essay I relate the learning theories to my own experience of them in the classroom, and explain how I used them and supported their use by others during the delivery of a series of workshops.
1. Behaviourism (B. F. Skinner)
- Largely the product of testing conditioning behaviours and neurological reward pathways on animals;
- Works on the premise that the learner is a ‘tabula rasa’ (a blank canvas) and can be taught set behaviours through repetition, reinforcement and reward. A rewarding action is more likely to be repeated;
- Measures learning through a learner’s response to stimuli;
- The teacher transmits knowledge;
- Learning is limited by boundaries and so it doesn’t help learners develop creative and critical thinking;
- Belief that how and why we learn are not important; the learner is encouraged to reach mastery in the ‘what’, therefore focused on academic achievement and not learning to learn.
The role of the teacher in behaviourist context is seen as the transmitter of knowledge. Teaching is successful if the student is made to do something in response to stimuli e.g. draw a dog when asked to draw a dog, talk in some depth about something when asked about it. It becomes apparent that in behaviourist context learning is passed down through a hierarchy, with the teacher being at the top, god-like, deciding what and in what depth students should know.
In a contemporary classroom situation this can lead to student disengagement through limitation of their interests, stifling of passion and boredom. Higher Education (HE) students nowadays no longer expect to sit and absorb knowledge that will enable them to display robotic behaviours (Raun Kaufman discusses the robotic look of behaviourist-taught autistic children in a couple of the webinars promoting the Son-Rise teaching programme for autistic children over the more widely known ABA conditioning based on Skinner’s ideas). This type of learning, if administered in isolation from other types, could also damage their employment prospects later on through hindering their competitiveness, as they would all be offering the same skill set.
So where does behaviourism belong in the classroom, if at all?
I observed above that drawing is intrinsically linked to illustration as its most basic skill, so I will use the teaching of basic drawing skills for illustration to discuss this learning theory. The first skill to be taught in relation to drawing is observation – exercises will consist of copying, tracing, appropriating and re-contextualisation (Rojas, 2015). This task is repetitive, relies on conditioning a certain behaviour (drawing in a particular way) until this is mastered and aligns itself with Skinner’s behaviourist theories. HE students do not come as a tabula rasa, and so teaching observation may be done from more complex angles, looking at complicated compositions, encouraging drawing from life and in urban environments etc. Yet drawing in itself, as a means of recording the world around us, is a repetitive behaviour. As Rojas (2015) explains
“For drawing […] It expands on the remake, which is defined as a new version of a work, the appropriation, and the decontextualisation of images to find totally unforeseen expressions, and translates images using systematic compositions for their precise configuration.” […] “drawing is a tool with which to visualise what is to be communicated, represent what is seen or experienced” […] “If someone traces and repeats this procedure several times, they will then be able to trace the image by memory without the need for mechanistic aids, which leads to the skill of automatic drawing”
This gives an example of how behaviourist techniques can be one of the foundations of long-term learning, enabling students to acquire basic skills to build on later in the course. The next skill to master having learnt how to reproduce the basic forms and shapes of objects, is contextualisation and representation. Learning exercises will require students to draw in response to words, some of which will be concrete and others abstract in meaning. This will expand their visual vocabulary and lead them to recognising words as distinctive pictorial elements.
“According to Martin Salisbury and Morag Styles (2012), the boundaries between words and images are more and more indistinct as words are recognised as pictorial elements and the end result is a visual absolute.” (Rojas, 2015)
“Creators who have built up a wide repertoire of automatic sensory-motor routines for achieving certain effects are free to devote their attention to considering what particular effects, message or emotion they intend to depict, without bothering about what overt actions to perform” (Ochse, 1990; cited in Cunliffe L 1999)
Repeating a skill leads to mastery: once students have committed the shapes and proportions of something to memory through repetition, they can then replicate the process independently and start using the knowledge in new contexts (e.g. abstracted drawings; exaggerated drawings etc. ) and make generalisations. The problem with this is that students may get bored and see little point to the exercise, so a good approach would be to get them on board by asking them to bring in materials to draw from (so that the exercise addresses their particular interests). This is not something that behaviourism is concerned with, and so the tutor must make the exercise dynamic by varying the duration of each pose / drawing, and by limiting or expanding the materials available.
One successful instance of repeated drawing I experienced required students to make 100 drawings of the same object over a period of time but using 100 ways of representing the same object. We were asked to prepare in advance by bringing in a simple object of our choice and were given a handout with all 100 instructions to take away at the end of the class. The aim was that we continue independently or start the exercise again, therefore catering for those who were slower in the class. At the end, we made up an exhibition of our works. This is an example of using Behaviourism to strengthen drawing skills in combination with cognitivism and experiential learning (explained below).
An additional problem I see with behaviour modification techniques is that the behaviour is associated with a reward (grades, praise, kudos, prizes, certificates of achievement, pleasing the parents or the teacher etc) and so the ‘honesty’ and commitment of the learner are put into question. Do they really know why they have to exercise those behaviours? Are they genuinely and willingly bought into their learning for the right reasons? Knowing why you learn something and being honestly invested in that is a crucial part of effective learning. The last quotation above shows how once behaviour modification is complete, constructivism comes into play as students start to use their knowledge and experience to construct new meaning and create works which communicate visually on complex topics such as migration, refugees, political satire, humour etc. This ability to draw on experience and knowledge is further enhanced by critical theory lectures and research.
2. Constructivism (Piaget’s cognitive learning theory)
- Argues that child development occurs at different rates from one individual to another;
- Postulates 4 stages of development;
- Piaget believed that we extract meaning from the interaction between our experiences and our ideas – presupposes that people will construct their own understanding of subject matter. A criticism of this is that none of us exists or learns in isolation, and Piaget’s theory does not account for the social and cultural environment we move in and which conditions our thinking to a degree;
- Sees learning as an active process, a step away from Skinner’s suggestion that learning should be passive;
- “Learners extract information as they interact with the world in meaningful ways, and are more likely to learn when they are involved in meaningful activities” and, “we create mental representations of the world in our minds as a way to organise our knowledge” (Reeves, 2019);
- Learning acquisition is like assembling lego blocks – new knowledge is added to pre-existing knowledge as we become ready to receive it (ie the learner needs to be at the required developmental stage for that or else they won’t learn);
- The teacher facilitates the acquisition of knowledge.
It is important to note the significant shift from the learner taking on board any type of knowledge that the teacher believes suitable to the learner being ready to take on board new knowledge that they think is suitable and have an interest in. One of the main aims of HE is to master new learning, at a higher level, and based on the interests of the learner (students choose their course broadly speaking, as opposed to following a general knowledge curriculum). In this regard, “The learning that goes on in higher education justifies the label ‘higher’ precisely because it refers to a state of mind over and above the conventional recipe or factual learning” (Barnett, 1990: 149 cited in Brockbank, A. and McGill, I. 2007). There are two strands of meaning here:
1. HE students are at the higher developmental stage where they are ready to acquire this type of information having been through the other stages (they have the prior knowledge to organise to help them find new meaning), and
2. They know why and what they are learning and are on board with the experience. Knowing this should make it easier to facilitate their experience and gives the teacher a wide scope to stretch and challenge pre-existing knowledge and help students construct new meaning.
That said, in the same text Brockbank and McGill discuss the danger, proposed by Illich (1971), that this readiness to learn can and often is exploited “as society operates its “hidden curriculum”” and students are prepared for lifelong employment to fit in with government and more general commercial agendas.
An example of cognitive constructivism at work in the acquisition of deeper knowledge is seen in the study of Illustration through research and tasks such as keeping a reflective journal, using sketchbooks, participating in group critiques, all of which encourage students to build on pre-existing knowledge, take new information on board and recontextualise their learning. “Illustrators tell tales with stories of their own or with stories adopted from elsewhere” (da Loba, 2013; cited in Rojas, C, 2015). This fits in with both cognitive and social constructivism theories – the former because in order for illustrators to be ready to tell stories through adaptation they need to have been through the prior stages where information is acquired automatically and indiscriminately. At this new stage, they can take the information apart, ask questions of it, place it new contexts and observe the result. The role of the teacher is to prompt them to inquire into it further.
The drawbacks of cognitive constructivist theory in the classroom are:
- knowledge is limited to the self (i.e. it disregards the wider socio-cultural context in which the self operates and therefore any critical thought is limited in breadth to the inner thoughts and experiences of the individual, ignoring the environment that informed them in the first place – critical enquiry stops too soon), and
- the individual developmental rates of students are just that: individual. This is potentially a big challenge for a learning facilitator who will need to plan for reinforcement tasks and adopt a flexible and patient approach in the classroom.
3. Social constructivism (Vygotsky)
- Social interaction is necessary to the development of cognition – our thinking is not entirely independent, but influenced by our environment, our experiences, the socio-cultural environment we belong to;
- We learn through participation because learning happens though dialogue and participation;
- Learning comes from interacting with / talking to ‘the more knowledgeable other’ (MKO), i.e. someone who knows more than us. By imparting their knowledge and understanding of subject matter, they can help to bring us into our “zone of proximal development” (ZPD) (i.e. to a level of knowledge and understanding which is just beyond what we can acheive without their help);
- Works really well with mixed ability groups and can help speed up learning (a possible solution to the problem I highlighted above in relation to Piaget’s cognitive constructivism);
- Uses a method called ‘scaffolding’ – the teacher identifies gaps in knowledge the addresses those by mediating and supporting independent learning in the social classroom.
Where cognitive constructivism fails, social constructivism comes to the rescue. By taking into account the socio-cultural environment in which the self operates, research and group and individual critical tasks can stretch learners further and further, deepening their understanding of the context in which they operate as individuals and as professionals.
Below I consider how some of the signature pedagogies for illustration integrate constructivist theory (cognitive and social) to benefit learning:
Sketchbook – often used for experimental play and thinking. It is where students quietly test out a new technique, practice repetitive skills, map out a new idea, plan an aspect of a project etc. As such, the sketchbook can also been really useful in assessments to demonstrate proficient acquisition of drawing skills, critical thinking, planning, organisation and experimentation. The problem with the sketchbook as a constructivist tool for learning is that it is personal – a map for solitary (thinking) activity – and removes the learner from teacher and peers, leaving them without timely feedback on their work. While some students may be very proficient users of the sketchbook, from a teacher point of view this quiet and removed way of learning independently can represent a problem: it may take a long time before the teacher becomes aware that a student is failing.
While I am not damning its use, I would argue that for satisfactory use of the sketchbook as a learning tool there should also be some social mechanism associated with it such as regularly sharing examples of the work produced in a sketchbook on a blog, social media or class based encounters (tutorials, group crits etc). This social aspect will work both ways: students will give and receive feedback and deepen their knowledge in context while learning from others and teaching others. At each time there will be at least one other “more knowledgeable other” whose active involvement in the process will help to bring others in their ZPD. This does not negate the need for tutor assistance and feedback, but reduces teacher–student co-dependency for learning. This in turn encourages confidence and independence which facilitate the smoother transition out of HE and into the workplace.
Research ultimately develops the students’ ability to adopt stories from elsewhere and be more risk-oriented in their sketchbook experimentation. Effective use of research presupposes analysis and re-contextualisation in social and cultural contexts, which is distinct from learning through repetition and reward and from learning through the things pre-exiting in one’s head. Research, whether carried out in a group or independently, is directly linked to Vygotsky’s social constructivist theories – the reading / experiencing someone else’s learning or point of view and internalising that renders our predecessors as the more knowledgeable other who, through their output body of research, bring the learner-researcher into their own ZPD. Research can also be classed as a fairly solitary activity, and therefore problematic for the same reasons as above. In a more learner-centred environment, it would help if research tasks were then reflected on through a blog, social media channels, presented to a group etc, so that guidance could be provided to those struggling in a timely fashion. In addition, where feedback is not just from the tutor but also from peers, learners stop being co-dependent on the teacher as already discussed.
Reflective journals, critical evaluations, written tasks and presentations place reliance on the written word, with the presentation consisting of a combination of written and visual prompts. These tasks are carried out with regularity and so they will, in the long term, lead to the acquisition of new behaviours around learning. This is achieved as we articulate our thoughts critically, think like a creative practitioner, make connections between our own form of artistic expression and other contexts etc. Arguably, the repetitiveness of the task can lead us to draw parallels with behaviourist theory, and this would not be a wrong conclusion to draw, just incomplete. Critical thinking requires the learner to extract meaning from the knowledge given to him/her and think critically about it in relation to themselves and various cultural paradigms (I do believe that once one acquires awareness of our own cultural markers, we must push the boundaries and look beyond our own culture to others whose perspective is different).
Of course, not all Illustration students are also accomplished writers. My own classroom experience suggests that the majority are visual thinkers with their visual processing skills being of a higher level than their writing / verbal skills. However, reflection and critical evaluations, even presentations, can be made more flexible so as to enable the students to play to their strengths regarding their creative skills. Students who cannot structure their written work may be brilliant vloggers, bloggers, rappers, or creators of short and snappy social media posts that may capture and document their reflection in alternative ways. They may even be able to talk through their reflective process with the help of a scribe whose role will be to write down in logical order the reflection points discussed. I would advocate for higher flexibility in how we ask students to gather evidence of their learning, and for assessment to take account of students’ individual learning needs and abilities rather than conditioning them to a single accepted format.
Overall, social constructivism is especially suited to the Illustration curriculum, and I would go as far as encouraging students to get together into collectives or similar collaborative groups to support each other throughout the course of their studies. However, my observation is that such associations are mostly borne at the end of the course from nostalgia, mixed with fear of losing one’s network and finding one’s self cut off from the supportive classroom environment. Students could be educated that even when working freelance, professional illustrators need a support group – a network – to keep them up to date with ideas and trends. Developing these skills early on in their academic journey will only be of benefit both to their learning and to their professional life.
4. Experiential learning theory (ELT) (Dewey)
- “The only source of knowledge is experience “ (Albert Einstein) (Beardon & Wilson, 2013)
- Learning is active and continuous – consciously and unconsciously we learn all the time from positive and negative experiences
- “Experience is both the process of experiencing and the result of the process” (Elkjaer, B 2008)
- Experience is not knowledge but just one step in the creation of knowledge
- Learning is a social activity – in this regard there isn’t a great deal of difference from social constructivism, especially where mixed-ability learning groups are concerned
- The context in which learning occurs is equally important – inclusivity, flexibility, collaboration
- Students’ involvement with learning activities is dictated by their areas of interest
- The key to successful experiential learning is reflection
There are some similarities between social constructivism and ELT especially insofar as the requirement for social interaction to aid learning. There is even a parallel with behaviourism in that even where an action is repetitive, it still constitutes experience and therefore will lead to experiential learning. The teacher as facilitator and creator of experiences will find themselves in a very difficult position to create an all-encompassing experience that caters to the needs and interests of everyone in the class. It could be said that they also need visionary abilities to help them pre-empt and address in advance future interests their students may develop.
However, there is a lot of value in ‘play’ in all its facets, including those unpredictable aspects where students may experience a negative (e.g. a failure) which may also inform their learning. I recall a conversation I had with a lecturer in our university almost a year ago, while I was still a student of Illustration, when I wildly suggested that perhaps we should encourage all our students to participate in a departmental publication where learning would be derived from being involved, by rotation, in all aspects of the development, creation, realisation and marketing of the publication. The benefits, as I saw them, were in equipping students with practical industry skills in addition to skills such as improved communication, project management, keeping to deadlines, being part of a team and working to a schedule (I am not suggesting that these are not variously acquired throughout the delivery of the curriculum). These skills would have been acquired in a much safer, mock-practice environment, encouraging them to take risks in the safe knowledge that the consequences would be less severe if they went wrong.
What I did not realise at the time, was that I was proposing turning our curriculum delivery into one very ambitious experience which would bring with it all the trademark problems of ELT delivery – how do you measure learning, how do you assess, how do you deal with teacher accountability? Yet a similar experience can be created on a much smaller scale with a smaller group of students where the teacher can also monitor for learning as a result of effective reflection and collaborative work, and where MKOs help out and bring peers into their own ZPD.
In my own teaching so far, I noticed that one session alone is not sufficient to build knowledge. Each session is delivered as part of a unit or module, and is a building block towards the acquisition of new material. This is where the learning theories overlap. Three sessions that I helped deliver this term successfully combined all of the learning theories above, and enabled our MA Illustration students to learn new skills which they later had the opportunity to consolidate through extension tasks. The first was a workshop on monoprinting which relied on live demonstrations (which I delivered in front of two smaller groups) to introduce new knowledge. Once I demonstrated the techniques to the students, I gave them the opportunity to ‘just play’ with the materials. I noticed that some were more eager than others but generally they supported each other well as a group. This facilitated their learning through experience and as part of a group (social constructivism and ELT).
During the following workshop, a second session of monoprinting followed during which the students were required to use the new skills to complete a series of drawing exercises. Apart from teaching new drawing skills and ‘loosening’ them up, we enabled the students to consolidate the monoprinting knowledge by limiting them to the use of this technique alone for the completion of the drawing tasks. They learnt through repetition (behaviourism).
During a third workshop the students were able to draw in any way they wanted so long as they complied with further instructions which required them to think about composition through the cropping and editing of their images. The students were invited to bring some of their monoprints to use as part of this workshop. For their homework, they were set extension exercises to complete in small groups. This third workshop relied on repetition (behaviourism), working collaboratively as part of a group (social constructivism), contextualised the new learning and provided opportunities for consolidation (constructivism) and provided additional opportunities for experiential learning.
Experiential Learning – we set up the workshops in such a way as they were learner-centred, responding to needs that the students had self-identified, and in a way that they could all take part irrespective of their drawing levels. Monoprinting is very instinctive, it is more about mark-making than the making of pretty pictures, and so ideal for ‘experiencing’ drawing. The students could choose what to draw, but were limited as to how – in this way they could still draw things that interested them. Since everyone was learning a new process, failure was embraced and celebrated and so the students learned better because the pressure to strive for perfection had been lifted.
Behaviourism – the need for repetition to fix learning – the students learnt a new technique which they had to use again on another occasion. They could use any of the monoprinting techniques during the second workshop and could have chosen to monoprint again in the third. By making them do the activity again and giving it a purpose to put it in context, they were conditioned to learn it through repetition but also motivated to learn it because they were provided with the opportunity to connect their learning with their needs and interests (and with their wider practice).
Constructivism – “learners extract information as they interact with the world in meaningful ways, and are more likely to learn when they are involved in meaningful activities” (Reeves, 2019). Our students didn’t just get to repeat a behaviour in order to learn it, the second workshop also gave them the chance to contextualise their learning. It gave them a purpose for undertaking the actions we asked them to carry out. As a set, the workshops used the previous learning as an opportunity to introduce new elements and scaffold the old with the new learning in interesting and engaging ways that reference the students’ briefs for the unit directly.
Social constructivism – the students tend to sit together in small groups. We respected this seating arrangement but asked them to work together, taking things as far as to ask them to take turns in drawing each other and then carry out extension exercises in their small groups. This meant that they had to trust one another, work together to complete the classroom-based exercises and the extension tasks and generally help each other stick to the task before going off to complete additional work. They had to rely on each other’s knowledge and generally act as ‘more knowledgeable others’ to the other members in the same group. This in turn cemented their relationships and taught them to rely on each other as peers rather than be too teacher-dependent.
My conclusion is that a dynamic classroom in which learning is facilitated through the integration of multiple methods and where all the senses are engaged is a much more successful classroom. It isn’t just a matter of what is taught, but also how. There are two competing aims to meet when teaching illustration:
- enabling students to become better, more compelling visual communicators as being a main aim of the teaching of this discipline and
- enabling studets to become self-reliant (and this latter aim needs to take account of students as individuals with all their different needs),
In order to achieve that, no one learning theory can be used successfully in isolation. Teachers are ultimately accountable for the collective and individual progress of the learners in their care, and so a basic understanding of how all of the learning theories integrate with the signature pedagogies for illustration will enhance the chances that they will have addressed everyone’s needs. This in turn will enable students to move from being teacher–reliant to having the confidence to take ownership of their own learning and become more and more independent and ready to tackle life beyond the safety of the classroom.
Camelia Burn is a student on the Postgraduate Certificate in Creative Education at the UCA where she also works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant on the MA Illustration, having just completed that course herself, achieving a Distinction. As a mature career changer, her interests span across art law, cultural heritage, illustration and visual communication and teaching for creative practice.
Aubrey, K. and Riley, A. (2019). Understanding and Using Educational Theories. Los Angeles: Sage Publishing
Beard, C. and Wilson, J. P. (2006) Experiential Learning, a handbook for education, training and coaching, 3rd edn. London: Kogan Page
Brockbank, A. & McGill, I. (2007) Learning: Philosophies and Principles. In Brockbank, A. & McGill, I. (eds.) Facilitating Reflective Learning in Higher Education. 16-27
Cuncliffe, L. (1999) Learning how to learn, art education and the ‘background’. Journal of Art & Design Education. 18(1), 115–121
Elkjaer, B (2008) in Illeris, K. (ed.) (2018) Contemporary Theories of Learning: Learning Theorists… In Their Own Words. 2nd edition. London, UK: Routledge
Jackson, I. (2008) ‘Gestalt-A Learning Theory for Graphic Design Education’ In: International Journal of Art & Design Education. 27(1), 63–69.
Kaufman, R. (2009) Autism Treatment: The Son-Rise Program vs. ABA: Key Differences Clip 3. The Option Institute International Learning & Training Center (s.d.) (Accessed 3rd October 2019)
Kaufman, R. (2009) Autism Treatment: The Son-Rise Program vs. ABA: Key Differences Clip 4. The Option Institute International Learning & Training Center (s.d.) (Accessed on 3 October 2019)
Reeves, T. (2019) Constructivism and Social Constructivism. (Accessed on 2 October 2019)
Richardson, V. (1996) From Behaviorism To Constructivism In Teacher Education. Teacher Education and Special Education. 19(3), 263–271
Rojas, C. (2015) Pedagogical Approaches to Illustration: From Replication to Spontaneity. In: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference for Design Education Researchers. (s.l.) (s.n.), 57-79
Shulman (2005) Signature pedagogies in the professions. Daedalus. 134(3), 52-59
 I do not propose to argue for or against this proposition, but simply acknowledge it as one of the limitations or constraints of an otherwise apparently free system in which students choose what to learn.