Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Guide vs the Farmer

I read a recent post claiming that "the guide on the side" position currently put forward as good practice needs to be reconsidered as the teacher should be at the centre of things and a new idea was put forward to consider - the teacher as farmer.
I've thought about it. Here's why I think a guide is going to work better than a farmer as an analogy in education.
A farmer controls just about everything that happens on their farm - apart from weather. They buy stock they want, sell stock they don't want, put fences in place to stop stock movement and drench everything. Hmm. I'm not convinced I want to be in their room as a learner. Drench, drench, drench. Weigh, weigh, weigh.
For me, I want a guide. Someone who has expertise and will offer it to me when asked and when they see I might need it.
Here's my analogy. I'm a novice tourist - never been out of NZ. I wish to go somewhere exotic and different to home. My travel guide should inform me of unsafe places that I would want to avoid. They should listen to what I'm telling them and then ask more questions to find out more about a suitable destination. They may make suggestions and offer me brochures. I get to make the final decision though - not them.
A local guide can be handy when in a new and unfamiliar place. This local expert knows people, hidden gems and the language. This local guide may have been suggested by my travel guide. Ideal!
While visiting my destination I might take a guided tour  - headphones on - where I'm able to pause while I ponder, fast forward past the boring part or rewind to hear it again. It suits my pace and my interests.
Now - here's where my guide is useful again. After my travels they find out about my experience  - what worked, what didn't, what I enjoyed etc, so that the next novice tourist is given this information too.
I'm now no longer a novice. I've travelled a bit. I still need a guide, but less so. I've learned from my first experience and want to make some changes- longer here, less time there, learn more local language etc etc/ I need to be guided, but I'm not entirely dependent.
Eventually, I'm able to self-guide my own travels.

I'm excited about the concept of  learners as explorers and teachers as guides.

(I'd be willing to talk to a teacher/farmer who is willing to go free range perhaps)

Will I be able to write something everyday for 28 days?

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't heard the farmer analogy, and I'm not sure I agree with it now either. It implies a level of control over dumb animals, and I don't want to think of myself or my students that way!


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