The lecturer and the pedagogue
I would like to look at the lecturer and the pedagogue as two learning modalities.
The lecturer, for example, at university, as a subject matter expert, constructs a series of lectures graded at the right level for the students. He stands on the stage and speaks to the students, sometimes with a Powerpoint presentation. The student is expected to understand and be tested. His activity is self-learning and asking questions, and if more is needed, he will get help from a teaching assistant.
The lecturer can talk to an audience of dozens or even hundreds, lecturing in the same way in another country. He does not know his students personally and assumes that their grades reflect their understanding of his teaching. The lecturer hopes that much of what he had taught will serve more learning and investigation among his students.
His body of knowledge is his point of origin, and his aim is to pass it on.
The pedagogue’s point of origin is the student. His central question is: who is the student?
The pedagogue, whether his body of knowledge is scientific, social, or artistic, uses the students as tools, passing on essences that are much wider than the content. He uses them to mediate, exemplify and encourage broad transcendental aims, such as feelings of self-worth, love of man, tolerance, meaningful people skills and cooperation, love of and respect for nature, learning based on curiosity and wonder, amazement and joy in life itself. The pedagogue attempts to arouse an experience of permission and responsibility for each individual while creating mutual contribution within the group.
Thus, the pedagogue’s central tool is dialogue and mediation. This is the means and the bridge through which he performs his work. He will always listen to his students carefully, take an interest in them, be curious regarding their inner world, and, based on his familiarity with the student, will also mediate his body of knowledge in a suitable, organic manner. He also teaches o the student HOW to learn. He moderates his principles through his behavior, not only his words. He does not prepare detailed lectures in advance, instead offering knowledge through joining the students’ understanding at the time and widening their understanding by listening. Asking, suggesting. He is situated in the present and has the hope that he is sending his young students towards a meaningful future. He is also continuously studying himself.
What does society need from the education system?
The future is vague and unknown, the world is changing quickly.
To deal with life, our children and grandchildren will need two modalities of dealing with reality – creativity and the ability to cooperate within teams. Thus, clearly, schools are unsuitable for this future, which is already here.
The art teacher, particularly, as different from all other teachers these days, finds it the easiest to go in that direction. The studio is, by nature, a space suitable for the development of creative processes with materials and objects. It is a reflective space for personal development through the hands and the body, and cooperation through independence and joy.
The studio invites independent investigation and mutual learning. By nature, it contains many answers to one question.
Let us return to the lecturer mentioned above. How is it linked to art teachers?
Some art teachers teach in a studio, yet act like lecturers. They regularly present one topic/exercise, and all the children are expected to follow with small variations.
Copying an artist’s work, creating pre-decided form, mass-produced ‘product,’ with each child’s personal handwriting blurred.
The question is – why do many art teachers behave like lecturers?
At least in Israel, I don’t think they really want to do this; Perhaps this results from a continuous problematic situation in schools. The art teacher certainly did not say to herself – this is how I think teaching should be done!
This results from circumstances where 35 children go in and out of a room every 45 minutes. There are few materials, and organizing it between classes is much work to be done and in very little time and dealing with issues of limits, noise, and discipline.
This is a long-time systematic-wide error, in which the art teacher has, against her will, become a sort of magician pulling tricks out of a hat to tempt the children.
The art teacher is actually engaged in bribery.
She invents a daily trick. She searches for something on Pinterest, something that will interest the children. What she aims at, her wish, is for a quiet classroom!
To have the children busy and possibly concentrating, have them enjoy themselves, not have a terrible mess so that the ten-minute break will be sufficient for her to organize the class for the next group.
She hopes that the day may pass quietly, with no fighting, and maybe the children will put things back in their place and she will have time to run to the bathroom, and perhaps in the big break, she will even get a chance to drink coffee in the teachers’ lounge which she hadn’t seen in weeks.
And perhaps there, where it’s quiet, she can take some notes about what different things children have created, and remind herself of the withdrawn girl in her corner that seems so sad, and perhaps talk to the counselor about it for a minute.
Then the bell rings, and another class rushes in.
And the principal calls her in for a talk regarding the way the school looks and the sets for the end-of-year play, and the inspector will be coming in a month to see a sample lesson, and the equipment she had ordered had not arrived and what had arrived included the wrong type of colors which she had been requesting for months, but rather something cheap and inferior from a chain the school is obliged to order from which provides poor materials.
And we did not discuss yet the teachers who run from class to class with a cart of materials…
No art teacher had imagined her work in school this way. I believe many of them really love children’s creativity and natural artwork. If they had not been acting under such pressure, they would have been happy to accompany personal processes in smaller groups in a reasonable studio. Most of them would be pleased with the children and genuinely impressed by the forces of childhood and its richness.
Which teacher are you on the continuum between lecturer and pedagogue?
Where would you like to be?
The images are all my art.
In the video,2014, a young arrogant woman preaches to the ocean what it is.