Two great posts, one calling for balance and the other promoting imbalance.
And they are both right.
It was a real treat to come across two posts dealing with different aspects of the same term.
Nathan Hall, in his post “Dieting” warns of educational fads. Each new idea is hailed as THE WAY to teach. Anyone who has spent a long time in the educational system knows how true the scenario Nathan is describing is. He calls for balance. I like to say the teacher needs a “toolkit” and have the freedom to use what’s in it appropriately. It is so unfair to the students when teachers are “encouraged” to favor one method or strategy over all others, regardless of the needs of each class. As Nathan says “…if we only eat one type of food to the exclusion of others, there is no balance.”
Anthony Gaughan, in his post “Balance isn’t everything” points out that we absolutely need imbalance.
“…in order for a physical body to move in any direction, it cannot be in a position of balance”
“For a human being to learn, he or she cannot remain in a position of knowing”.
We can’t move forward if we don’t lift our feet off the ground. And we certainly feel less safe, less “in our comfort zone” if we don’t have both feet on the ground. To learn something we need to lean out of the comfort zone.
I know Anthony is talking about training teachers, getting them to really examine their beliefs about teaching and be ready to consider other ways of doing things.
Yet I think its a relevant point in relation to students as well.
The big difference between the trainees and real students in the classroom, I believe, is that the students need to know that their are lots of “handrails” all around them, and that it IS really safe to try and move forward.