Unlearning how to teach

  • McWilliam E
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The twenty‐first century demands not only that we learn new forms of social engagement but also that we unlearn habits that have been useful in the past but may no longer be valuable to the future. Teachers have ‘un‐learned’ the role of Sage‐on‐the‐stage as the dominent model of teaching, and the shift to Guide‐on‐the‐side has served an important function in changing the focus of pedagogy from the teacher to the learner. However, Guide‐on‐the‐side is no longer sufficient for our times. This paper argues the importance of a further shift to Meddler‐in‐the‐middle. Meddler‐in‐the middle positions the teacher and student as mutually involved in assembling and dis‐assembling cultural products. It re‐positions teacher and student as co‐directors and co‐editors of their social world. Meddler‐in‐the‐middle challenges more long‐term notions of ‘good’ teaching in a number of ways. Specifically, it means: (1) less time giving instructions and more time spent being a usefully ignorant co‐worker in the thick of the action; (2) less time spent being a custodial risk minimiser and more time spent being an experimenter and risk‐taker; (3) less time spent being a forensic classroom auditor and more time spent being a designer, editor and assembler; (4) less time spent being a counsellor and ‘best buddy’ and more time spent being a collaborative critic and authentic evaluator.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Creativity
  • Learning
  • Pedagogy
  • Teaching
  • Unlearning

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  • Erica McWilliam

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