Susan Hillcock: Dismantling Boundaries Between Teachers and Learners

What Creates the Boundaries?

What Creates the Boundaries?

by Elizabeth Wallace -
Number of replies: 3

Participants in Susan's workshop had little difficulty coming up with what creates barriers to learning in a "traditional" classroom. They ranged from layout of the seating to expectations of the students.  What are the boundaries that you experience that may be constraining in you in your efforts to be an effective teacher?

In reply to Elizabeth Wallace

Re: What Creates the Boundaries?

by Marc Arellano -
Hi Liz,

You are already aware that Susan's work influences my thought and classroom delivery style. I willingly admit that her session and Blaine Depree's last year inspired me to present this year at UBCO.

Her underscoring of the importance of androgogy got me to thinking about the different forms of power. In this case, it's the power relations that exist amongst teachers/students. In moving from a traditional role as "gate keeper of the sacred knowledge" I've discovered a different kind of power, i.e. the power of influence.

Whether it's modelling qualities we want our students to have or gently sheparding learners to discover their own strenghts and weaknesses, it's all about influence.

Have you ever experienced the power of influence in your life?
In reply to Marc Arellano

Re: What Creates the Boundaries?

by Elizabeth Wallace -

The energetic discussion after Susan's presentation at the conference was evidence of how much she had influenced her audience, if that's what you mean by the power of influence, Marc. I'm so sorry that Blaine was not presenting. I only exchanged a few words with him but he made a great impresssion on me.

I'd be interested in hearing whether you have a more precise definition of "power of influence" than the generic one that I'm assuming you mean. Although I have been influenced by many people in my life (and not always to good effect) one thing I have always lacked is mentoring. I would have loved to have a wise person to offer me guidance, support and guidelines for satisfaction in life.  Perhaps that's why I try and mentor younger people in any way I can, and hope that I influence them in some small way.

In reply to Elizabeth Wallace

Re: What Creates the Boundaries?

by Marc Arellano -
Hi Liz,

Thanks for framing my questioning within a larger context. I guess my concept of the power of influence has to do with the evolving role of the educator. Where once we were expected to micro-manage content delivery through traditional methods of teaching, we are now evolving as facilitators of learning.

Part of this process of facilitating is listening to learners and then working with them in the hopes that they can form their own insight(s). I can see some similarities here with mentoring. The danger with mentoring or improper influence occurs when the mentor gets enmeshed with issues of transference and starts "doing" for the mentee/client instead of listening.

I think the major contribution the power of influence can have lies in the idea--be the change you want to see. I have witnessed this idea in action in industry and education and I am always amazed how people respond to models of behaviour and action. It's not an explicit expression of power; it's just a way of being in the world.