In everything. We can’t go around trying to do new things without someone to guide us. And we can’t go around asking people to try to do new things without ensuring the guidance is there for them: guidance that is offered in a way that respects us as learners, as people.
There is nothing worse than to walk into a classroom and see students scrambling to ‘get’ what it is they are supposed to be doing. More often than not they just end up doing something else or not showing up – that’s when you get the acting out, distracted, and distracting behaviour. If I were given a text to read and answer questions about in Hebrew or about electrical engineering without anyone there to guide me in the learning of the language or science I’d probably look for something else to do pretty quickly.
There is also nothing worse than to participate in PD with a group of educators who know that there will be no follow up, that the topic is just one in a long line of topics designed to keep everyone busy and tick off some boxes in terms of pedagogical development. Again, no real guidance here. At least none that is based in learner respect.
On the flip side, there is nothing better than to walk into a classroom and see students who are being challenged at exactly that point – you know the one, the one where they are right on the cusp of what they know and what they don’t, that zone of proximal development point – where learning is magical.
There is also nothing better than to participate in PD with a group of educators who are directly involved and invested in what they are doing. Who are learning for a reason that comes from within and not from external goals.
The first instances are insulting and disheartening, barren of respect and guidance. The second, enlightening and full of heart because they involve respectful guidance.
I’ve been blessed to have been able to experience both in my teaching and consulting practices. Blessed because the former ensure that I help create more instances of the latter.