the school game and other metaphors

Bob King (
Mon, 12 Aug 1996 17:46:05 -0400

Lately I've been teaching workshops, where people come expecting to get
something, and seem to be genuinely appreciative when what they expected
to get (in this case, useful information, clear and organized instruction,
and time to explore the Internet as a teaching environment) matches up
pretty well with what they do get. Teaching workshops rather than
classes has caused me to re-assess the metaphors I use. It no longer
seems like a game to me that anyone's playing. Instead, more and more, it
seems like theater, teaching as a performance medium. People buy a
ticket, and expect a decent ride. I try to provide a decent ride.

This group has done some pretty good work in the past on the topic of
re-assessing "the essay" as a form. I'm wondering if there is some
similar work to be done in terms of re-assessing "the course?"

Going with the theater metaphorfor a minute, other than the Mahabarata
(sp), not too many theater performances request that an audience hang in
for days, let alone months, regardless of what the topic is, or the
quality of the performance. On the other hand, not too many performers
are expected to perform 35 or more *different* and marvelous performances
in 3 months!

We're arguably transitioning from a paradigm of mass-industry (factory) to
one of personal-industry (computer), and maybe we need to position the
class, or the course, as an artifact of mass-industry which no longer
applies. The metaphor of game may indicate that in effect it's already
game over?

Bob King