One of the analogies I have used in past CPD sessions about teaching and intervention is connected to the idea of maps, car-navigation systems, driving and being a passenger. I generally use it to illustrate levels of intervention, but it works equally well if you are introducing technology to the classroom. For some reason, it always produces a positive response and a different reaction from everyone who hears it, and it’ll be interesting to see how you react…
The learner (L) is going to drive from A, where they are now, to B, where they are going to go. A and B are some kind of learning goals, targets, outcomes or stages. They have to get to B within a specific timeframe.
The teacher is the guidance system – if used.
L asks you how to go to B. You offer to go with them.
L says: “No, it’s ok.” You don’t get in the car:
- L gets in the car and drives off, without asking anything. After getting lost on the way, they finally reach B, with no idea where they went or how they got there. They may also arrive late or with very little time to spare.
- You say: “Oh, I wouldn’t start from here…” and proceed to give directions to a new place where L should be starting from, and ignore B completely. L drives to the new place, but still doesn’t know why they are there instead of at B. They will probably not get there and, if they do, they will almost certainly be late.
- You give them a map and draw the best route for them. They drive off and get to B in good time, but miss some interesting side roads and have to hang around for a while.
- You give them a map and suggest a few ways they can go. They drive off and get to B, with a few interesting detours, but maybe they panicked a little about being too late or not being able to spend as much time at places as they wanted.
- You give them the car-navigation system manual. L flicks through the manual, throws it to one side, pushes a few buttons, gives up and ends up in scenario (1).
- You show L how to program a destination, but don’t tell them what happens if they miss a turn. They miss a turn, and the system sends them on a wild detour which takes far too long. L panics, arrives late at B and vows never to use car-navigation systems again.
- You show L how to program a destination,and tell them if they miss a turn, all they need to do is turn around and go back to a point before the missed turn. L gets the hang of using the car-navigation system and arrives at B on time, but without knowing much about other features on the system.
- You show L how to program a destination,and tell them if they miss a turn, all they need to do is turn around and go back to a point before the missed turn. You also show them how to get the system to suggest places of interest along the way or how to reprogram the system if they decide they want to take a different route. L arrives at B on time with a feeling of some control over the system and wanting to investigate it in a little more depth.
- You tell L exactly where to go, get annoyed when they are too slow to react, and also make suggestions/recommendations about how L is driving. You arrive at B well ahead of time, but L is totally stressed out and vows never to let you in the car again.
- You tell L exactly where to go and nothing else. If L misses a turn, you wait to see what they do. You arrive at B on time, and then tell L what they did wrong, how they could have done it better, etc. L wonders why you never commented earlier and what’s the big deal anyway because you got to B. They also vow never to let you in the car again.
- You tell L to head in a particular direction, using the road signs to help. If L misses a turn, you give them a choice: turn around or ask for new directions. You arrive at B, on time. L feels a sense of control and will probably have you back in the car.
- You tell L to head in a particular direction, using the road signs to help. You point out one or two detours that L might be interested in taking. You arrive at B, on time. L thinks that having you as a passenger could be interesting, even when they don’t need directions.
- You tell L to head in a particular direction, and they switch on their car-navigation system. You say nothing but make some comments about places along the route that L might want to visit. You arrive at B, on time. L thinks that having you as a passenger could be interesting, even when they don’t need directions.
L says: “No, it’s ok.” You give them a car-navigation system:
L says: “Yes, please.” You get in the car:
Feel free to add more scenarios to the list if you like!
OK, there have to be questions, it wouldn’t be a normal blog post for me unless there were!
Which scenario seems closest to your teaching situation?
Which scenario seems closest to your learning situation?
Which scenario would be ideal for you as a teacher?
Which scenario would be ideal for you as a learner?
How will you get there?