In conversation with Terry Elliot on the subject of students needing to reflect on on their learning styles it occurred to me that this is an identity question which might create a bit of panic in novice learners–especially younger learners who are just forming identities. Working with apprentices there was always the assumption of admitting them into the “world of working tradespeople” as a natural first step in their training. This is as simple as talking to them as equally as possible, sharing the lunch area with them, watching out for each other and and many other member privileges so to speak.
There’s not a sense of deliberation in doing this, only that sharing knowledge with people considered unequal makes the process harder. An apprentice is expected to take on the identity of a trades-person along with the skills and I wonder if we do that with all students? Not to take on the identity of the teacher or as a scholar but to allow a level of equality such that they can develop a sense of membership in the learning process. How would we assess the acquisition of “voice” or confidence? How would we encourage it while allowing the student to remain a questioning and curious person? I say this because I’ve seen too much equality generate a sense of knowing all before the responsibility for the knowledge sets in.