Do We Desire Balance or Imbalance? A Comment

Two great posts, one calling for balance and the other promoting imbalance.

Epstein Family Photos

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.

2 thoughts on “Do We Desire Balance or Imbalance? A Comment”

  1. I am not sure that these are so different. I often talk to teachers in training sessins about their ‘tool-kits’ which sometimes need to be shaken up so that the tools at the bottom can be found, dusted off and used again. A mix of methods to reach different learners is certainly advisable. And when we use that mix, we have much more chance of helping both ourselves and our learners stretch out of their comfort zones (which enables them as well to stretch out of their style preferences and usual strategies making them more able to cope with a variety of tasks and new ideas.)

    1. That’s it, Marjorie! At first glance it seems that one post calls for balance while the other calls for imbalance. However they really compliment each other, not contradict. It was a great feeling reading both posts together.

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