In reply to a request on the highly-esteemed Kalinago English blog
Materials-mediated teaching is the ‘scenic’ route to learning, but the direct route is located in the interactivity between teachers and learners, and between the learners themselves. Learning is a social and dialogic process, where knowledge is co-constructed rather than transmitted or imported from teacher/coursebook to learner.
Picture the scene, if you will. A busload of tourists are driving on the road through a large arid desert. Occasionally, sighs are heard as the bus rumbles past the dessicated remains of what might once have been a very large creature. The affable guide at the front of the bus reads from her notes, ” Bison once stalked the land…” As the bus drives on past cacti and vultures, the tourists’ satisfaction builds. They are getting everything that they paid for. Knowledge. A unique experience. The sensation of having embarked upon a journey that will end with them getting to the pre-arranged rendezvous. The smile. Snap pictures. Chat. And then…through the haze of the baking sun, they see a solitary figure standing in the middle of nowhere. He has jet black hair and thick-rimmed spectacles. He doesn’t have a map.
To the horror of the tourists, who have paid huge amounts of money to be on this bus, benefitting from the air conditioning that keeps them comfortably acclimatised and the pearls of wisdom that tumble out of the script from the guide at the front, the bus driver stops. With a hiss of hydraulics, the door pops open and up steps the smartly-dressed young man. The driver stands, embraces the man. Both turn and look at the passengers. Both have a demonic look in their eye. The bus driver speaks first, his accent antipodean. “Does anybody have any idea about where we’re meant to be going?”
Well, do you?