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Finding your tribe

One of the most enjoyable and inspiring books I have read this year has been Sir Ken Robinson's "Out of our Minds"  and my ref...

Sunday, 17 October 2010

reflections on feedback

I presented at ALT-C in September and recently re-discovered a blog posting relating to the event from Gabi Witthaus. Gabi's feedback set me thinking again about where I stand on comfort zones. As an educator, I believe in the importance of drawing people out of themselves to take risks, allowing them to feel safe enough to operate beyond their usual frames of reference. This is not difficult to do in my language teaching capacity, it is an area I have operated in for many years. In a technology for language teaching domain, working alongside others I am more cautious. It reminds me of my horse-riding days. Over facing is the concept of asking a horse to cope with a task (such as a jump) that is beyond its normal reach. This requires trust and sensitivity from the rider. Once over faced, a horse can become very nervous and will resist taking even the smallest risk. If however they become over confident they will rush at a fence and chaos ensues! Often tutors who are enthusiastic about a particular use of technology want to dive into something that is complex and demanding. Naturally I want to support them in this, the challenge is to facilitate their understanding of the complexities of what they want to achieve, to slow them down in order to ensure that they have thought about the implications of what they are doing. Student feedback is probably the key. Not necessarily whole group surveys, but the support of one or two interested students who can give honest input without fear of judgement and so help to shape the tutor's innovation. Thanks Gabi :)