Greenwich reminder, sandwich lesson
Posted September 10, 2015on:
I am currently in London, but my learning does not stop.
One of the things I decided to do was take my family on a walking tour of Greenwich.
Greenwich was a lovely place. It was interesting to be in the part of the world that historically and geographically defines the western and eastern halves.
Our guide, a wily older lady with 37 years of experience, told fairly interesting stories and she was quite a character. However, her method of delivery reminded me of old school practices.
It was practically about all of us listening to her talk. There was almost no time for questions and photographs as we hustled and bustled from one place to another.
When we were stationary, it was to listen to stories. Humourous and informative as some of them were, they were nonetheless disjointed. The kids in the group fidgeted. I fidgeted.
Eventually some of us learnt to wander off slightly to discover things our own and to take photographs before our guide mentioned what was photogenic. My trusty phone helped me snap my Lego family series, and I could Google Map where I was or Google for information.
While the guide provided her own insights, she had obviously honed her delivery down to an art. There was little need to adjust. It was fine to go at one pace in any one place.
If all this sounds familiar, it reflects teaching like much of it still is today. That is not good enough because a teacher does not just offer insights that students do not have. It is not enough that a guide or teacher be funny, informative, or knowledgeable. An educator must also create the desire to learn.
I contrast the walking guide’s method with a much younger leader I met during an afternoon tea on a Routemaster bus.
The bus guide did not just serve us delectable treats and pepper us with factual tidbits. More often than not, he asked us questions about what we saw around us. A group of Middle Eastern women at a table near us would reach for their phones to Google for answers. The rest would rack our brains to recall something we heard on other tours or from memory.
This other guide made a game of things. We were challenged to think and we were simultaneously put at ease in a conducive social and physical environment. I felt like I could get into trouble with the older guide at any time; the younger one made us comfortable despite quizzing us.
The issue is not the age of the guide or teacher. The issue is being in touch with how people learn and what they learn with today. Learners need to be more involved and to use the tools they prefer. The learner has this message for any guide or teacher: Engage me or enrage me.