You can’t be a change agent if you’re an expert …

Well, you can, but it’s tough.

When you’re on the early part of the learning curve others look at you and say:

“Hey, it’s Darren. If he can do I can do it.”

Once you hit a certain level of competence or expertise they same people look at you and say:

“Hey, it’s Darren. He can do it, I can’t.”

Did you hear the change in tone in the first part of each of those statements?

Neophytes can be models of change for people new to learning something different. Experts have a different aura about them. That aura of expertise is intimidating for neophytes. The aura of “not quite an expert”, the sense of newness associated with someone learning something they’ve just learned, is motivating for newbies.

We need less experts, more neophytes. Actually, a constant influx of neophytes to provide a continuous stream of models to engage new learners.

What are the implications of this for change agents? What about teachers; because aren’t all teachers change agents for the stuff they teach?

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6 comments so far

  1. Anonymous on

    Hey! This did not make me feel any better about my teaching today.

  2. Anonymous on

    Really? Why is that?

  3. Anonymous on

    Your post remind me that my struggle in class today had a lot to do with making physics seem more like magic and less like attainable.

  4. Anonymous on

    I guess that's a bit of what I'm getting at here. <br><br><img title="?ui=2&amp;view=att&amp;th=126e456f86e65702&amp;attid=0.1&amp;disp=attd&amp;realattid=ii_126e456f86e65702&amp;zw" alt="?ui=2&amp;view=att&amp;th=126e456f86e65702&amp;attid=0.1&amp;disp=attd&amp;realattid=ii_126e456f86e65702&amp;zw" src="cid:ii_126e456f86e65702" height="315" width="420"><br> <br>We know a lot more than they do. We start from different assumptions, take different things for granted, then wonder why they're confused about what we're saying. I bumped into this the other day trying to teach a young lady math. I need to work harder at putting myself in her shoes before I try to teach her anything.<br> <br><img title="?ui=2&amp;view=att&amp;th=126e45b4516bac83&amp;attid=0.1&amp;disp=attd&amp;realattid=ii_126e45b4516bac83&amp;zw" alt="?ui=2&amp;view=att&amp;th=126e45b4516bac83&amp;attid=0.1&amp;disp=attd&amp;realattid=ii_126e45b4516bac83&amp;zw" src="cid:ii_126e45b4516bac83" height="312" width="420"><br> <br>??

  5. Anonymous on

    Hi Darren – Noticed this as well. When presenting, I try to have teachers there with me to speak to classroom practice. It shouldn’t sound like only the "experts" can do it, even though I (we?) still think of ourselves as learners figuring this out.I think you hit the nail on the head when you said a mix of experts and novices. Ideally they are working collaboratively, inquiring into their practice. Mentors scaffolding the learning for their colleagues and modeling the cycle of action-reflection.Thanks for the post,@tomfullerton

  6. Anonymous on

    I had included two pictures in that last comment. This one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkuropatwa/3747623204/and this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dkuropatwa/3747623204/<still learning posterous>


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