Metaphors We Teach By: Understanding ourselves as Teachers and Learners

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Metaphors We Teach By: Understanding ourselves as Teachers and Learners Slide 2 What is a metaphor? The power of metaphor Sampling of teaching metaphors Limitations of these kinds of metaphors Conclusion Slide 3 What is a metaphor? In this essay metaphor is to be understood as a global term meaning a comparison between two unlike things which serves to enhance our understanding. Slide 4 The Power of Metaphor We use Metaphors in our daily lives without knowing that we are using them and because we unconsciously use metaphors we do not fully comprehend how powerful they really are. Metaphor can work negatively or inaccurately which can distort information or cause us to make false generalization which can confuse our perception. When we use metaphors we can choose to either use it for a positive impact or a negative impact on the information we share with others. Slide 5 A sampling of Teaching Metaphors Many educational metaphors already exist and most educators choose one of these metaphors to teach by. Because of these metaphor, most educators already have a pre- conceive notion of teaching. Slide 6 For example, Mary Ann Bowman, Western Michigan University says thatPerhaps the most basic, traditional and common metaphor of teaching is simply to say that teaching is telling. Slide 7 Many college and University faculty appear to have this as their primary operating metaphor. According to the metaphor teaching is telling, all a teacher has to do is to stand up in front of the class room and talk to the students about the subject and that is teaching. Many of the large lecture classes at UMBC use this type of teaching metaphor. Slide 8 The limitations of these kinds of metaphors are: They see the teaching/learning process as a one way communication with the teacher knowing everything and have total control over the student. Slide 9 They see student has brain less individual with nothing to contribute to the teaching/learning process. Slide 10 Other metaphors see the teaching/learning process differently. For example, if teaching is seeing as gardening then a different attitude toward teaching/learning is accepted. With this metaphor teachers see the student as plants that needs to be neutered, nourish, and weeded in order to produce a loving/learning environment so that the students can learn and grow. Slide 11 Conclusion Our society has a lot of teaching metaphor that can either help or hinder the teaching/learning process. The metaphor an educator chooses can see the students has mere empty vessels that needs to be filled with knowledge or see the teaching/learning process as a joint venture where both teacher and student can learn from each other. Slide 12 Educators must ask them selves the following question. Do we see ourselves as the sole authority, or do we view learning as a shared process? Do we want to give up some power so that students can learn cooperatively, or do we want to retain control?