All teachers have some level of metaphor or over-arching understanding of what they are doing when they are teaching and facilitating learning. In the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Friere (2000) points out that most teachers have a “banking metaphor” for teaching. They imagine that teaching involves placing or “pouring in” information into inert, passive receiving bank accounts. This information transfer metaphor has dangerous implications for learning because the student is imagined as a passive receiver of information. In reality, the student is an active learner who has much to offer and teach the teacher.
We have selected four teacher metaphors that have implications for teaching and learning for all teachers. Enjoy hearing from these gifted educators and listen to student feedback from the classrooms of Lisa Day, Sarah Shannon, Diane Pestolesi, and Carol Thorn.
Lisa Day’s metaphor of bird watching challenges her to be attentive, engaged and curious. She is comfortable with long pauses, waiting for students to show up. She learns from them rather than only imposing her ideas and information.
Clinical ethics teacher, Sarah Shannon uses a boat keel as her metaphor. Forming a keel is integral to the formation of a student’s ethical comportment in practice. It keeps them from capriciously changing, veering off into conflicting or multiple directions at once. She teaches by examples, active dialogue, and asking questions, so that students learn to navigate …
Diane Pestolesi’s metaphor is being a coach. This opens up possibilities for situated teaching and learning in actual clinical practice. She asks questions, assesses students’ approaches and practical understandings, and offers situated coaching.