in Education

Finally! a video that explains what I’m aiming for as a teacher.

This video was originally created by Wendy Drexler and uploaded to YouTube. I’ve transferred this to Edublogs.tv as YouTube is blocked on most school networks in the UK. I came across it after reading Clint Lalonde’s post about it, and I discovered Clint’s blog after an incoming link from his blog to this one!

This text will be replaced

var so = new SWFObject(“http://www.edublogs.tv/flvplayer.swf”,”mpl”,”450″,”355″,”8″);so.addParam(“allowscriptaccess”,”always”);so.addParam(“allowfullscreen”,”true”);so.addVariable(“height”,”355″);so.addVariable(“width”,”450″);so.addVariable(“file”,”http://www.edublogs.tv/uploads/a3toftztnioov5iy.flv”);so.addVariable(“searchbar”,”false”);so.write(“player”);

A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled The kind of school in which I want to work… In that post I outlined a different role for teachers using the analogy of the teacher as lifeguard:

I don’t think I’d come across the theory of Connectivism at this point which explains really well my pedagogical stance. We can’t consider each learner in isolation. Their ‘network’, both physical and digital is extremely important in the learning process. As a teacher, I’m effectively aiming for redundancy: I want students to leave me at the end of the time at school with the ability to learn independently and play an active role in learning communities. If I can contribute towards that, then I’ve done my job effectively.

The trouble is, I can’t do this alone – it’s a whole-school issue. Wendy’s video will hopefully help explain myself a little better in future. :-D

If you liked this post, you might want to subscribe to my newsletter and explore my ebooks!

Share a Comment

Comment

12 Comments

  1. A few thoughts occur to me in response to your lifeguard theory of teaching. I accept that the post is not new and that you have no doubt moved on from there, but just in case some of your readers are at that point in their learning journey.

    First of all, the teacher is not the only one who can do the rescuing. As shown in the Commoncraft-esque video, the teacher empowers and encourages the learners to rescue each other, knowing that in doing so, they improve their own erm.. swimming skills.

    Also, the teacher needs to be in the water with the learners. The teacher needs to be working on his/her own fitness levels, proficiency, stroke technique and any other analogous aspect of swimming and learning you want to come up with. Many is the swimming training session I have attended which has been presided over by someone who is patently out of practice as a swimmer themeselves.

    The teacher also allows the learners to experience the consequences of their wrong choices in a safe-fail environment so that, when they venture out into the breakers alone, they will be equipped to cope with reality.

    The teacher does not feel threatened when one of the learners becomes a better swimmer and a more able lifeguard than he/she is. But the teacher also makes sure that he/she does not develop or communicate a dependency on that learner, as the learner may not be mature enough to cope with that burden.

    I’m sure we could do this analogy to death, but I’ll leave it there…

    • Absolutely, Karyn! Thanks for unpacking my haphazardness – that’s
      exactly what I meant. When I say that the teacher/lifeguard ‘knows the
      water’ I mean in the form of ‘keeps up-to-date’ and ‘knows from
      continued experience’. Sorry if that wasn’t clear.

  2. A few thoughts occur to me in response to your lifeguard theory of teaching. I accept that the post is not new and that you have no doubt moved on from there, but just in case some of your readers are at that point in their learning journey.First of all, the teacher is not the only one who can do the rescuing. As shown in the Commoncraft-esque video, the teacher empowers and encourages the learners to rescue each other, knowing that in doing so, they improve their own erm.. swimming skills.Also, the teacher needs to be in the water with the learners. The teacher needs to be working on his/her own fitness levels, proficiency, stroke technique and any other analogous aspect of swimming and learning you want to come up with. Many is the swimming training session I have attended which has been presided over by someone who is patently out of practice as a swimmer themeselves.The teacher also allows the learners to experience the consequences of their wrong choices in a safe-fail environment so that, when they venture out into the breakers alone, they will be equipped to cope with reality.The teacher does not feel threatened when one of the learners becomes a better swimmer and a more able lifeguard than he/she is. But the teacher also makes sure that he/she does not develop or communicate a dependency on that learner, as the learner may not be mature enough to cope with that burden.I'm sure we could do this analogy to death, but I'll leave it there…

  3. Absolutely, Karyn! Thanks for unpacking my haphazardness – that'sexactly what I meant. When I say that the teacher/lifeguard 'knows thewater' I mean in the form of 'keeps up-to-date' and 'knows fromcontinued experience'. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

  4. Teacher as lifeguard: love it! You convey a lot of your pedagogy in that one simple graphic. I like how you note that “some students” will be overwhelmed–it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. I like how the lifeguard role recognizes kids natural curiosity and desire to grow; there’s no mention of “nudging kids into deeper water when they’re ready.” In most cases, kids will seek it out on their own; as you say, the teacher is just there to rescue them when it gets too deep. I also like that you recognize that there’s “some coaching” involved–kids are going to have more fun in the water or in learning if they know a few basic strokes. I think I’ll be using this metaphor in the future–well done!.

  5. Teacher as lifeguard: love it! You convey a lot of your pedagogy in that one simple graphic. I like how you note that “some students” will be overwhelmed–it's not a one-size-fits-all approach. I like how the lifeguard role recognizes kids natural curiosity and desire to grow; there's no mention of “nudging kids into deeper water when they're ready.” In most cases, kids will seek it out on their own; as you say, the teacher is just there to rescue them when it gets too deep. I also like that you recognize that there's “some coaching” involved–kids are going to have more fun in the water or in learning if they know a few basic strokes. I think I'll be using this metaphor in the future–well done!.