Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Cunning Guise

I had the pleasure yesterday of listening to Don Giovanni on the radio as I drove home from a friend's. The plot revolves around a cunning man who beguiles three woman. This wonderful opera by Mozart made me think. Are we, as lead learners in our classrooms, hiding behind a deception?
I propound that educators have traditionally hidden behind a guise. That disguise assumes the educator is always right, always has the one answer, & should never be questioned. I was fortunate enough to have a high school education that assumed none of these and encouraged all students to question, challenge, & find alternate paths.
The current trend in the Web2.0 world is to put this guise in question. Educators are encouraged to step off the stage and become the guide on the side. Teachers are being asked to incorporate multiple intelligences in their lesson plans and differentiate for all learners. They are asked to put on a different role in classrooms, one of facilitating, not lecturing.
Getting educators off that stage has been more difficult than anticipated for me. I was more than happy to run leaping off that fake stage. But others seem entrenched in tradition. Comfort is found in the familiar "I'm right because I am the teacher" attitude so prevalent in our society. When learners enter my classroom there is quite an adjustment for them, as I insist loudly that I am not responsible for their learning. We are all learners and each of us is responsible for becoming lifelong learners and doing our work as unto our Lord (NIV, Col. 3:23).
Learners need also to widen their horizons. They seem to have become as a generation disillusioned with K-12 schools and propel themselves through for the diploma only. I'm puzzled by this attitude, as I know other educators with whom I work are. The real issue is how to effect change. I am not 'the teacher' with any answers in my classroom. I challenge all educators to step off that stage at least once in a while. It is a liberating educational tool through which we can recognise the high ability of all learners and offer them a quality education.
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