If you are looking for a challenging and fascinating take on disruptive pedagogical approaches to learning, read Eric Hoefler’s post from yesterday, “Coyote Teaching.” My favorite paragraphs are:
Tricksters are understood to be powerful creative forces, and creativity is both necessary and dangerous. It is the trickster figure who brings fire to the people, but also death. The secret to the tricksterâ€™s creative ability lies in his ability to disrupt. By disturbing the norm, by introducing chaos, by raising the difficult questions, by seeking outrageous alternate approaches, new understanding can emerge, new connections can be made. In order to do this, though, old methods are sometimes destroyed.
The need for creativity in education is becoming more and more evidentâ€“and I donâ€™t exclusively mean â€œthe arts.â€ Creativity is a component in all learning, in all disciplines. Itâ€™s the disruptive, propelling force of evolution and invention. Itâ€™s the power and destruction of fire. Itâ€™s what is too often missing from the classroom…Students need shepherds and coyotes. And native cultures will tell you that anyone who follows coyoteâ€™s path risks great danger â€¦ thereâ€™s a price to pay for coyoteâ€™s immortal, creative power. Indeed, coyote stories are only told in winter, when the powers have withdrawn into the earth. (Itâ€™s a cold February day here, so I think Iâ€™m safe.)
I agree our students need both coyotes and shepherds, but I worry in many cases they may not be getting either. This reminds me of the teacher-character “Mrs. Chud” in the outstanding book by Kevin Henkes, “Chrysanthemum,” which I read to my kids before bed tonight. (It’s a favorite, especially of my 3 year old right now.) I think our classrooms may have lots of “Mrs. Chuds” in them, but we need more coyotes and shepherds. I’m not sure if either label exactly fits “Mrs. Twinkle,” she’s an artist and a child advocate! (A passionate champion!) We need a lot more teachers like her too!
I don’t think I want to adopt Mike Weschâ€™s term “anti-teaching” to represent the development of critical capacities and students as question-askers. I’m thinking inquiry-based learning is supposed to be all about students asking more questions than the teacher, and that is a form of TEACHING, not “anti-teaching.” But perhaps I’m getting overly focused on semantics. The idea and goal Mike relates for “anti-teaching” (and Eric begins his post discussing) sounds good, but I think he needs different terms. He writes:
Teaching is about providing good information. Anti-teaching is about inspiring good questions.
I would change that to say, “TRANSMISSION-BASED TEACHING is about providing good information. Inquiry-based and constructivist teaching is about inspiring good questions.” Some of the commenters to Scott Mcleod’s post on this seem to agree. Instead of “anti-teaching,” we could call this alternative “good teaching.”
But what of the way of the coyote? Who are the disruptive coyotes among us in the blogosphere? Will it be a coyote who will lead us to the educational promised land of school 2.0, or a shepherd? I bet it will be a combination.
BTW, why aren’t any coyotes running for the local school board in my city?! It’s probably because all the coyotes were shot in Oklahoma a long time ago, and if one is ever spotted he’s gunned down as quick as can be by well-meaning locals wanting to preserve a “safe environment” for our kids.
I actually know we DO have some coyotes still around, because I saw one a few weeks ago when I was driving east of town. It’s the WOLVES that have been all shot and killed. I’m not going to extend these metaphors any further tonight, however!
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On this day..
- 5 Hours of Professional Development Podcasts from Yukon Today - 2013
- Student Storychasers Begin Work at Skyview Elementary in Yukon, Oklahoma - 2012
- Think Differently and Support AutismOklahoma.org - 2012
- Why I Upgraded my EduBlogs Account - 2011
- Sometimes our toughest teachers prepare us the best - 2011
- Communication in the Digital Age (via ShareTabs) - 2010
- Embedding Video in a VoiceThread: Role Playing Annabeth Chase from The Lightning Thief (book) - 2010
- Sir Ken Robinson on Creativity and Transforming our Schools (ITSC 2009) - 2009
- Bill Gates on Education Reform in Feb 2009 - 2009
- Discussing Copyright, Creative Commons, IP and Education - 2008