"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I've been doing a little bit of reading on the zone of proximal development and came across the term "scaffolding". The example of the word (credited to Wood, et al.) used a tennis player trying to learn to use her forearm to hit. Not applicable to what I do, but something that gave me pause. It's really an appropriate word, because the person using the scaffold has some skills, but needs a temporary support in order to accomplish a task.

In my classes I am the 'more knowledgeable other', but I'm not the only one. Each student acts as a support to the person next to them. I purposely seat students next to each other (I have the ability to set my labs up with workstations as I think best) so they can look at each other's screens if they're stuck. It's gratifying to me (although I'm not sure why) when I see a student reach over to another student's screen and tap on something to show the user where a particular command or button is.

I've always thought of myself as a trainer, not a teacher. But all of the readings have me thinking that I am much more of a teacher than I have been giving myself credit for. I'm not pinning any laurels, but I'm doing more than simply teaching someone to do their job. I'm giving them the tools to go further with their skills. My role as a more knowledgeable other feels good.

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