Sunday, November 05, 2006

Confusion: Constructivism and Real Life

Question: can being a constructivist...a facilitator of ideas, a manager of options, a director of meetings...can this role take on an ugly face? I had a student I didn't know come to me needing to talk about private events. He wasn't in harm, but certainly divulged private, life-changing events that had occured. He said he didn't have anyone to talk to and asked if I would meet with him.

Of course, and 2 days later, 8 meetings ago, I felt proud that he came to me, but scared that my role as teacher, as mediator of information, was becoming a counselor of sorts. I don't give advice sharing my opinion, but rather listen. Let him sort through the issues, ask questions, search for answers and I encouraged him to find more. I know in my heart of hearts I met his needs, but the burden that I carried...and still do, makes we wish that constructivism was not a concept I knew.

I know he came to me because I can listen and I can help him sort his problems, but the person inside me: the mom, the sister, the woman, wanted to scream what he should do, scream the knowledge he should have, and scream an ultimatum of what was to be done. I wanted to slap the TEST of his life down and make him conform to my wishes. But I didn't.

Does constructivism only work in the classroom because it's where it's safe...between the pages of Chaucer and Poe, Civil War and cells?

Answer: I left with the face of a critical thinker, a mentor of ideas, but it didn't feel pretty. I guess it doesn't need to be.


At 9:17 AM, Blogger Karl Fisch said...

I think it's a fine line, between offering advice and helping people find their own way. I think you know that - in the end - he has to find his own way somehow, and I think you helped him do that.


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