I am reading Rob Bell’s book “Velvet Elvis” along with about 50 other men in our church’s Friday morning men’s group, and came across the following passage recently which resonated with me as a teacher. Rob wrote:
Tour guides are people who see depth and texture and connections where others don’t. That is why the best teachers are masters of the obvious. They see the same things that we do, but they are aware of so much more. And when they point it out, it changes the way we see everything.
I love this analogy, and think this can be a powerful way to frame and structure learning tasks for students. Don’t just tell me about your topic. Become the tour guide. Show me what I could not easily see, identify, or discern for myself. Uncover the stories underneath the surface, the details and connections which weave a tapestry of greater meaning and understanding for listeners and viewers.
When I taught a week-long course for university instructors and professors in the Dominican Republic several years ago about online learning strategies, my wife and I had a delightful opportunity to spend an entire day with the director of the university’s department of travel and tourism who led us around Santo Domingo.
I was struck at the time by what a challenging but rewarding job he had, and helped others learn to do effectively. A good tour guide has broad knowledge about the history, culture, economics, social dynamics, and other aspects of a particular place and the individuals who live there. Spending time with an excellent tour guide is a delight, not because they are simply filled with a multitude of facts, but because they have the ability to stitch and weave those details together in a larger tapestry of understanding.
Perhaps we can benefit from framing our roles as learners, whether we are formally defined as teachers or students, as “tour guides” for others? I think the demonstration of higher order thinking is a required job skill for effective tour guides.
If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, subscribe to Wes' free newsletter. Check out Wes' video tutorial library, "Playing with Media." Information about more ways to learn with Dr. Wesley Fryer are available on wesfryer.com/after.
On this day..
- David Jakes on Learning Spaces (April 2016) - 2016
- Scratch Camp Facilitator Workshop (April 2016) - 2016
- Understanding Why eBooks "Feel Different" - 2013
- Separate Wifi Access Point Works Best with Apple TV on Busy Network - 2012
- Tips for adding images to Custom Google Maps #gct - 2011
- How do you feel about students bringing laptops to class? - 2010
- Comments I had missed - 2007
- Rethinking WalMart Patronage - 2007
- Bill and Melinda are Terrified - 2006
- Tearfully Slow Bandwidth - 2006