One of my learners comes to class and he tells me: “I’ve been thinking about the many of us, young professionals, willing to work for Google or Apple in Argentina. I saw a LinkedIn post where they shared that Google was recruiting employees, so I updated my CV and filled out an application, they emailed me back and I proudly attended a job interview to find myself in a crowd of hundreds. Why do we dream of having a chance to work for this company? And it’s not the salary, that I know”
This is how our class started. I listened to him and asked: “So, why do these companies attract so many people in search of their dream jobs?”– Luke Meddings, 20 Steps to teaching Unplugged. Minute 45. Trust in the Human. Listen – Ask
We chatted for a while and put some ideas down.
We generated new questions that aroused from the ideas we shot down.
Trust in the Human. He works for one of the top industries of consumer electronics and household goods in our country as Research Engineer and he is also a teacher at Buenos Aires University. He is the kind of person we all want to teach and learn with. He has a strong commitment to develop professionally in a working environment where they trust him and believe in things can be improved. He is not only interested in getting a better salary, he is passionate about innovation as a means to make products and production better and give customers the best they can.
Though I kept The Golden Circle by Simon Sinek in mind from the moment my learning mate came to class and shared his question, I wanted to allow him to generate his own road to approaching the answer to his question.
We then moved on to search for answers or clues that might help us understand why these companies and not others. One question and a click here and there led us to more and new ideas, until he came to inspiration and leadership and nonstop to Simon Sinek and The Golden Circle. Yes, blame me I manipulated the search a bit.
During the first, second and third weeks of #Rhizo15 Dave Cormier, encouraged us to think about:
1. Building learning subjectives: How do we design our own or others learning when we don’t know where we are going? How does that free us up? What can we get done with subjectives that can’t be done with objectives?
The more I teach the more I trust my learners, and the more confident I become that I am not there to transfer knowledge. In fact, how could I teach a learner who does research on technology, innovation, risk at uncertain situations about this “content”. He knows more about it, he doesn’t need me for learning and teaching things he already knows and which are his areas of expertise.
As I see it, the role of the teacher is to be there beside learners to guide them and help them find answers to their own questions and to help them find better ways to do it in English.
I can guarantee we both enjoyed our journey into why we do what we do, which became our class unplugged goal, we learned loads together and feel proud of us as a learning team of two. Yes, we are two in the classroom or in our online meetings, but we become a group, a community when we interact with social networks and read Twits and Blog posts, which also link us to other websites in our search for answers. Even when sometimes we just get new questions.
Back to Dave’s questions
2. How do we design our own or others learning when we don’t know where we are going? How does that free us up?
The fact that we don’t know where exactly the learning journey will take us, doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t know our mission and goals as educators. As ESL teachers, we believe our role and mission is to help our learners improve their English language skills to be able to do things in English, to learn beyond the Grammar rules. In a class where learners feel confident and valued they come up with their own questions, anecdotes, stories, expectations, fears, achievements, which definitively free us from imposing content from the outer ring like in the Golden Circle.
3. The myth of content: So what happens when we peek under the the word “content” to see what lives there? What does it mean for a course to contain information? What choices are being made … what power is being used? or Content is people?
In searching for a definition of the word content I came across this image
Admittedly, it made sense until I started thinking about how this particular class I am sharing developed, and which helped me dig into #rhizo15 topics.
So I came up with this new one I created:
OK, back to our unplugged goal and outcome class. We got from the circle to our own circle.
That lead us to think about how we adjust to a job which we do not feel agrees with our own beliefs. My learner came up with a video clip: Restoring employee engagement by Ed Muzio.
We moved on to think about our work beliefs like a manifesto.
I can go back and see why and how this particular class started, but I do know how I could have ever predicted where his questions would lead us.
I am well aware that most teachers in the ESL/EFL world have to deal with strict syllabi provided by Education Ministries or very strict school systems. Teachers spend long hours adapting content to motivate their learners. The next step we might need to make is to trust that our learners are the “why” we do what we do, our learners deserve to be at center of our golden circle, they are shouting out loud to be heard. And we, teachers, are also shouting out loud to be heard.
Super final thoughts:
I’ve been a lurker but an avid reader of this community of super edu–heroes, led by the “rhizo cowboy“. I have cheated, I have been nurtured by all of you, but there’s a reason for which I might not be pleaded guilty. I was not educated in a society which fostered freedom of thought, and society included education, but not only. It was not that hard though, it’s been a question of hours spent to be able to repeat what our teachers wanted. I celebrate the joy of learning, and I invite and encourage my learners to value this joy.
David Perkins – Teaching For Understanding What’s worth learning? What do we want our learners to understand? How can we help them understand? How will we know they understand?
flickr photo by oscarberg http://flickr.com/photos/oscarberg/5237837482 shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-SA) license
https://www.iconfinder.com/ License: Public Domain