Interactive 6.1 Dr. Martin Seligman on Positive Psychology
As the elephant’s child discovered, following burning questions can be both dangerous and useful. They often require us to gather our courage and venture out on our own, carrying supplies and adapting to the unexpected. As we discuss later in section 7.4, our explorations can be hindered or aided by the perspective of others, be they relatives or thinking friends such as the bi-coloured python rock snake. Curiosity inevitably leads to change, and the elephant child’s ability to adapt gave him vantages in the realms of eating, shlooping mud, and the then-common pachyderm practice of spanking.
In the high and far-off times the elephant, o best beloved, had no trunk. He had only a blackish, bulgy nose, as big as a boot, that he could wriggle about from side to side; but he couldn't pick up things with it. But there was one elephant--a new elephant--an elephant's child--who was full of 'satiable curiosity, and that means he asked ever so many questions. - Rudyard Kipling, The Elephant’s Child
The complex nature of teaching makes the profession an especially ripe context for cultivating an inquiry question. Teaching requires teachers to make sense of the interaction between the following five elements simultaneously: the child, the context, the content, the acts of teaching, and the teacher’s own beliefs or dispositions. So how do teachers think about the five elements of teacher work? In any teaching event, teachers consider the context where they teach. For instance, they may ponder: ‘What resources are available?’, ‘What are the state [or provincial] standards or system objectives?’, ‘What support is provided for this innovation?’, or ‘How will the broader community react?’ In conjunction with thinking about context, teachers also make sure they understand the key content knowledge that must be constructed. Teachers ask, ‘What misinformation or misunderstandings often occur as children construct knowledge in this area?’ and ‘What are the multiple perspectives that must be shared in order to capture the complexity of the content?’ (Dana & Yendol-Hoppey, 2009; p. 21)
Charting new territory, when you are unfamiliar with both the terrain and your final destination, can be exciting but also quite frightening. Beginning your journey becomes less daunting after you do some initial preparation and take your first steps. (Dana & Yendol-Hoppey, 2009; p. 19)
As Paulo Freire put it in conversation with us one evening: “Only the student can name the moment of the death of the professor.” That is, a teacher can be intent on a dialogue with an adult learner, but if the learner sees the teacher as “the professor” with whom there is no possibility of disagreement, no questioning, no challenge, the dialogue is dead in the water. (Vella, 2002; p. 20)