Tony Gurr

What if…

In News & Updates (from the CBO), Our Schools, Teacher Learning, Teacher Training, The Paradigm Debate on 17/09/2013 at 4:44 pm

What if 08 (WWZ Poster) TG ver


Yes, Rosie! I love my Zombies, too…


What if…?

Imagine for a second…we changed the way we thunk about what goes on (or should go on) in our classrooms.

You know…

What if 01

…did a bit of a swap!


Not only in what we thunk…but also in how we talk about what we thunk.


Would the world come to an end, acaba? Would the Zombie hordes that tormented Brad Pitt and his ever-so-sweet movie family over the Summer…move into our cities, suburbs and schools?

I know, I know…the zombies have already taken our Ministries, our School Boards, our “Reform” Agenda – but Brad did “win” out in the end…did he not?

By fighting on the “front line”!


Many of us have already taken the first step. I mean…we have been asking:

What if 03

…even though we might not like the term “business”!


AND…we already kinda recognise that…

What if 04

LEARNing is sooooooo much bigger…

…and something we (as TEACHers) cannot (however much we may want to) do on behalf of our students.



Brad kisses a zombie

No Zombie apocalypse!


I mean…a few simple questions is all that it takes to get us there:

What if 02


Mmmm – ouch! But, a nice “ouch”…


Hey, here’s a thunk…what about if all TEACHers-In-Training (you know, those lovely TEACHers-To-Be) had these questions at the heart of their “curriculum”…lecturers that “felt” these questions in their bones…and “walked their talk”.

I wonder what impact this might have on these TEACHers when they get to “do business” – in their own classrooms?

Pretty much the same in the case of humanities – …what if we had humanities educators that (instead of teaching their students “about” books or what so-and-so “meant” in lines 14-15 on page 69) help their students to LEARN about life, work and themselves…”through” reflecting on books!



What if 05


Hey, just a thunk

What if 06


The alternative, I fear, is waiting for those other Zombies to come up with the next:

What if 07


And, this time…Brad is not around to save us!


  1. Back on reading and commenting! Reflection time through dialoguing for me.

    A lesson I learned this year: Ask your learners! Most of the questions you ask should be taken to the classroom and just by saying change how you view teaching or your learner and your classroom is not enough. It is a daily endeavor and WE do not have all the answers and NEITHER does them. It has nothing to do with the lesson content (although we are not a walking dictionary either), but how the people in our room is going to process what they are seeing, hearing, reading. We simply can’t due to many factors, and one that often teachers of over 25 students in a class would say is that she/he simply can’t follow everyone’s progress. If it is an excuse or really hard thing to do, I don’t know. The biggest group I work with has 10 Ss in it. Are there ways we can find to experiment to develop learners critical thinking and autonomy towards their own learning, I believe there are. But again, it is a journey that each teacher with her/his students need to take. Having said that, I see my role of a mediator, a more competent learner that is still learning. And therefore, I have my role in the process and so does the students for their own sake.

    Today in one of my groups (8 Ss in different levels and abilities in class), a student who is in intermediate level asked about a very simple thing (at least it would be for us): “Why there is “rd” at the end of 53rd? On the board I reminded her (surely she has seen that before) of the ordinal numbers. She thanked me and said that she had never learned it. Sure, I told her. You just don’t remember. We all have a moment like this. Then, another student said that he had been taught differently (or he understood it!). Others said they already knew it and others took note. So, I took the opportunity to remind them of our ladder ( ) and comparing themselves to each other is bad business or blaming others. What I think they have to do though is to constantly check what they understood or think they know. My goal is to help them set their own goals and help them get there as well as to remind them that they can also learn from each other. I feel much happier now. Although I still have the responsability of creating the opportunity for them to discover what they need to learn and be ready to assist them – like this week again, they still can’t retell a story – their literacy skills is in progress and for most of them it is low. Whose responsability is to help them get there? What is the point if teachers never show how the process happens or draw their attention to it? Where is the visual literacy? Ok, now… remember one of my last comment in your blog? I think it was around these lines but in other way around.

    Thanks for challenging me to put that at test. That is why I haven’t commented lately. Being busy studyng, analysing, asking questions, changing practice! 😉

    • Yes, I have learned so much about activating the “student voice” over the last few years – and, I think, have become a happier and more effective teacher because of it. Granted I do not work with younger students much nowadays – but even then (way back in the day…with 6/7 year olds) saw the power it had to help engage and switch learners on.

      What do we say about the 3C’s and 3R’s?
      Sooooooooooooo true 😉

      I know what you mean about having to create the opportunity (or climate) – but for me that is what a great teacher (designer role) will always do…and is one of the duties we need to be vary careful about delegating / abdicating in a formal learning environment. Nothing wrong with that – esp. we, ourselves, keep questioning the process and look for ways to enhance or adapt it to add greater value 😉

      I loved the “ladder” – I have seen one of these before but not one this detailed. Is it yours or did the kids come up with it?

      Take care – and thunk about what I said about the book…one day 😉


      • The ladder I found online while I was looking for messages to bring every week to class last semester. The quote moment every week. I have no idea who came up with that ladder, but whoever did… did pretty well and I have been using with my 9th graders to remind them of choices, purpose and action. Thanks for the replies.

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