Another dot in the blogosphere?

Eagle or goose: Hole-istic or holistic?

Posted on: June 29, 2015

Over the last three days of the June school vacation, my son returned to school for a leadership camp. A vendor conducted the event and gave it a theme: “Eagles leading the way”.

Surely that sounds good and I should have nothing to complain about. If you think that, you do not know me very well.

Eagle species tend to be solitary creatures. You are unlikely to see one eagle leading other eagles in some flight formation. You definitely will not see eagles leading other birds. The only time and place you might see eagles leading might be in a cartoon.

I kid you not; I am taking this seriously. As an analogy, the theme was not just inappropriate, it was inaccurate and irresponsible.

Gimme a V by hjhipster, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License   by  hjhipster 

A more accurate bird example might be geese. But a theme like “Taking turns to lead the way like geese” is not catchy or glamorous.

Nonetheless, that is what all the kids attending the camp were learning to do: To become better leaders by taking turns to lead depending on what they were good at and what their responsibilities were. This was a collaborative form of leadership.

The vendor could have come up with a better theme or analogy. It had the responsibility to do so.

My beef is not just the poorly selected theme. It is the frivolity with which people who think they are educators or para-educators approach their work. They might not realize that if we want want holistically-developed children, we need teachers who teach holistically first.

The eagle analogy reeked of lazy thinking. I would describe that sort of modelling or teaching as hole-istic. It is incomplete and easy to see through.

I am not saying teachers should be perfect in every way. But they must realize that they teach more than content. They also model values and thinking. If they are not sure about a some piece of information, a value, or a way of thinking, they should not fake it. Such weaknesses are more easily caught by their learners than they are taught.

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