A Guide for the Perplexed
Edited By Judith McVarish and Catherine Milne
Chapter 4 Vulnerability: A Metalogue (Joe Salvatore & Judith McVarish)
Our initial work with self-assessment revealed that students experi- enced a greater sense of ownership over their learning, increased aware- ness of their own learning styles and methodologies, and a deeper connection to the material that they were studying. These discoveries led us to question the characteristics or conditions that we as instructors must set up in our classrooms in order for students to feel safe enough to learn in this way. We learn this way naturally, using our instincts and the process of trial and error to make meaning in the “wilderness,” but why do those instincts seemingly disappear or go on hiatus when a stu- dent enters a classroom? One potential answer for this question has to do with the power dynamic that traditional notions of education establish between the teacher and the learner. In a typical classroom, the teacher has the knowl- edge and the power, and the student is supposed to be “filled up” with that knowledge and defer to the teacher as an all-knowing entity. When we ask students to self-assess, we automatically shift the dynamic to empower the student. What happens to the notion of the all-knowing Chapter 4 Vulnerability A Metalogue Joe Salvatore & Judith McVarish b_text_T4.qxd 1/15/2014 8:36 AM Page 47 professor? It’s much more difficult to break down that barrier, as we are often surrounded by other teachers and colleagues who feel much safer being the ones perceived to have the most knowledge in the classroom. Our process of...
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