NEW TEACHING STRATEGIES

Magical Metaphors

I recently left the Comcast Studio whereas I was a cameraman. We had completed recording program about Breast cancer. The host of the show explained that she was never going to get another one because they flattened her breast in a machine. She looked horrified when she explained the procedure.

So when I arrived home, I asked my best friend (a female) about her experiences getting a mammogram. She explained the procedure, saying was like a Panini.

“Panini”, I exclaimed, what is that?  She gave me the definition.

A teaching moment I thought. She used the Panini explanation of course as a metaphor.

Here is the idea. The best Teaching/Learning method is “Learning by Doing”. The worst is the “Lecture” method. The Lecture Method is used in all The Public Schools in the USA because the classes are large and the time is short.

The Lecture Method is best delivered using Metaphors. The problem however is the teacher more often than not will use metaphors that the student has no clue of comparison.

I knew about flat ironing toasted cheese sandwiches but I had never heard the word Panini used. Because I am a true “life-long Learner”, whenever I hear a word I don’t know , I insist of looking for the definition. When students hear words they don’t know they “TUNE OUT”

Teachers will use metaphors based on their personal experiences. More often than not the student has no means of comparison. Here is one quick example. I heard a motivational speaker use this (quote) metaphor. “It's the set of the sails and not the gales that determines the way they go.” She was addressing an audience of low income black students that had never been on a sailboat. I interviewed a sample of the students after her talk. I asked what did they think about that metaphor. All said they tuned out.

 

Action Step.

(for teachers)  Think about what you are going to say. Make an outline. Be very careful about the use of metaphors.

Best Action Step.

Create a document called a “Student Survey Sheet” On the document created question such as;

1. What is your favorite TV PROGRAM?

2. What book(s) have your read?

3. Where have your traveled?

4. Who is your favorite recording Artist?

These kinds of questions can help a teacher use Metaphors that students can understand. The idea is to proceed from the known to the unknown. If a teacher uses a metaphor that the student cannot understand it is trying to proceed from the unknown to another unknown.

Teachers SHOULD use METAPHORS. The only way to make the Lecture Method palatable is to use Metaphors. However, the metaphors MUST be the right ones or it just makes everything WORST.

 

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