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Introduction—Heutagogy: What Does It Mean and Why It Is Needed

Abstract

Heutagogy is a teaching-learning approach in which the students themselves determine their learning. In this chapter we define the meaning of the term heutagogy and present its basic principles. Heutagogy goes against the prevailing culture of teaching in academic institutions, which is usually teacher determined. Hence, we address the question of why it is needed. The ideas presented in this chapter will be further elaborated on in the rest of the book.

I think that [heutagogy] begins with contemplating questions such as: What interests me? How do I think I should explore it? How would I like to experience the learning process?

At the beginning, it was very difficult for me to appreciate the course’s mode of learning. All my life I had learned in a traditional manner. Occasionally I felt that I was being thrown into deep water without a lifeguard. I didn’t understand why it was not possible to learn as usual: to get information from the teacher, to process it and to pass the test… But as the course progressed, I succeeded in letting go of my deeply rooted habits and discovered a new learning approach, through which I found in myself a new learner.

It was only toward the end of the course that I began to feel different. Knowledge surrounds us and we just have to observe and be interested. Such learning is meaningful to me since I had never imagined that I could learn something from, e.g., a YouTube video or Facebook page. Today I feel that I have learnt more from the process than from the content. I was delighted to discover that there is a different way of learning, which involves mea genuine learner instead of just a passive “bucket” that is being filled with information. This is a profound change.

I felt that I was taking greater responsibility for my learning… expressing my own voice. This way conveys trust in the students’ capacities and capabilities.

For the first time in my life, I had to evaluate my course grade. It was very difficult for me. I asked myself: do I actually explore, search and deepened my knowledge about the course’s subject?

The above quotations convey the message of heutagogy. But what does heutagogy really mean?

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Notes

  1. 1.

    A different explanation is suggested by Parslow. For him, the term “heuta” originates from the Greek verb heureskein [ευρετικές] which means “to discover” (Parslow, 2010, p. 101). “Heuristic”, he continues, “is defined as a method of teaching by allowing students to discover for themselves (Parslow, 2010, p. 101). Similarly, The Cambridge English dictionary defines “heuristic [as] a method of teaching allowing students to learn… from their own experiences rather than by telling them things” (Heuristic, 2018).

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Correspondence to Amnon Glassner .

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Glassner, A., Back, S. (2020). Introduction—Heutagogy: What Does It Mean and Why It Is Needed . In: Exploring Heutagogy in Higher Education. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-15-4144-5_1

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