Transparent teaching

When I checked out the book: Naked Conversations from the library last year, the librarian at the circulation desk blushed as she read the title. That won't happen again. The library system has changed over to self serve checkouts. Perhaps the librarian has also learned that the title refers to the ways that successful blogging depends on transparency.

Jay got me thinking more about transparency this week with his fascinating summation of the seminal books about the Internet culture. Over the past several years, I've been pondering several possibilities that have remained abstractions until this morning:

  1. There is no teaching at the level above learner-centered instructional designs, only mutual learning
  2. Whatever competence learners learn from another learner is highly contagious and subject to viral transmission through existing networks
  3. The more the instructor learns about the learner, the more the learner will learn by getting learned from
I've mentioned in a previous post that it's difficult to know what's missing. I suspect that transparency is what has been missing for me to translate these abstractions into actions and instructional designs.

What if content (facts, explanations, principles, procedures, policies, etc) could only be offered in the context of learning? What if we routinely worded instruction transparently as:

  • "This ___ answered a question I was asking myself",
  • "This ___ cleared up some confusion I was wrestling with"
  • "This ___ provided a solution to a problem I've been looking for ways to resolve"
  • "This ___ tied together two viewpoints that appeared irreconcilable to me"
Doesn't that transform instruction into learning from a learner?

No comments:

Post a Comment