Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are you a Cruise Director?

Recent posts by David Warlick, Andy Gibson, and Ewan McIntosh are all reminding me of a problem I have with the teaching profession: namely, the job title!

Usually, it is the layout and tools of the traditional classroom that reinforces the model of education I've come to resent: 'one where information is transmitted from teacher to student'. But, even the very word 'teacher', implies that one is responsible for the transmission of knowledge to the other. It almost makes me want to jump ship!

Extending the metaphor: If your classroom were a ship, with the students as passengers, what role would you play? The ship's captain? A steward? Chief purser? The navigator? In the best case, educators are co-learners who can model learning on a daily basis, while providing engaging experiences for their clients. With many pre-determined destinations, I suspect that the best teachers will play many roles, not the least of which, would be that of 'cruise director'.

I have an observation experiment for you:
Try a 'ship's captain walkabout'. Tour the decks of a school as an observer, while limiting your attention to the feet of the 'passengers'. Take my word for it... and just try it. I suspect that in a given tour, your observations will tell you much about how engaged (or disengaged) the learners are! If the feet are active, I suspect that there is a good chance you're looking at the classroom of a cruise director and co-learner.

Too Funny! True oral exam stories are shared on tonight's 8 minute episode of the Teacher 2.0 Podcast: "Tale of the Tell-Tale Toes".

Photo Credits: Savannah Grandfather, Billie/PartsnPieces


MrsC said...

I love the metaphor. You are so accurate to ask us as educators to take that walk and check the engagement levels. You know, early in my profession, I was not renewed at a school basically because the principal believed in straight desks and quiet classrooms (old school) and I did too many skits, groups, outside walks, and projects (new school). I venture to say I run the Carnival Cruise ship... Their motto is the Fun Ship. I am not going to apologize if my class is perceived as fun. I encourage anyone who is not on the fun ship to rock the boat and cause some waves!