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IDOCs » teach me (not)! panel
Here you can find the video documentation of the Panel of the 2nd IDOCDE Symposium moderated by Nita Little, with the valuable contributions of Cristina Caprioli, Frey Faust and Sabina Holzer and all the participants who appeared as audience, panelist and commentator during this non-hierarchical (?) discussion platform. After Symposium reflections of Nita Little & Frey Faust can also be found here.

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Nita Little's note:

Dear IDOCDE Panel, Kerstin, Defne, Eszter, and interested audience,

I want to first thank everyone involved in the panel for giving me the opportunity to investigate this very significant topic and for engaging with three + very unique and different voices in their language, their concerns with the subject, and the forms of their engagement with the processes of learning. I have had conversations primarily with Frey and Kerstin about the panel, and I would like to think out loud a bit about what worked and what did not. 

My most immediate response was that I felt the panel was out of control - and as its moderator I was in trouble from the very moment I opened the conversation up for people to tell the audience who they were and where they practice teaching. I was in trouble in part because I needed tighter reins - even on the panel. My initial question was practical but immediately provoked theoretical answers, which perhaps points to another, more important issue - the subject was vast and there are innumerable ways to approach it, which is why we wished this panel. However, what seemed to create great difficulty was that many of us, including me, could not understand many of the things being said. In part this was due to the room and its acoustics, but the remainder had to do with not sharing agreed upon terms (this came up in both conversations with Frey and with Kerstin). The issue of terms exposed the fact that none of us was familiar with one another’s work well enough to know how the subject of “teach me (not)!” was being dealt with in practice as well as in theory. If I had to do it over again, I would have changed a few things: 

1. I would have had us all meet in a more casual gathering prior to the panel in order for us to become known to one another. I met Christina within minutes of the panel and had absolutely no time to familiarize myself with her way of speaking, her passion, and her terms. The same is true for me with Sabrina, although I had much more correspondence with her prior to the panel discussion and could understand more of what she was introducing, conceptually. 
2. I felt that the additional chair and stool were distracting and complicating an already complex subject. While they supported the attempt to break up hierarchical values within the structure of a panel, and while they offered the possibility for some playfulness, they were ineffective as tools for getting deeply into the subjects that the panelists were furthering. Rather, they became tools for audience members to raise their particular concerns on the subject, which while valuable information, was not the right moment for these offerings. I would suggest that we needed another forum in which to have audience based sharing because each addition of new concepts, language and advocacy didn’t help us explore what the panelists were saying, but rather simply demonstrated yet another facet of an already complex geometry. 
3. I am struck by something Frey said to me - that he didn’t feel protected by me as the moderator. I can understand his statement as the result of our vision being overwhelmed by the reality that there was too much audience energy toward bringing the stool/chair to life, their opportunity to say something on the subject. Our vision didn’t work within the purposes of having a panel. I think I should have been ready for this rush and held a line in which the panelists material interests were the primary contributions and that the stool really should have been left as a place from which to interact and engage with the panel’s immediate statements. And, I would have gotten rid of the fourth panel chair. I think that there was confusion between the stool and the chair. The chair gave the idea of full participation for a limited duration - but actually what happened was that the stool became an easier and more comfortable location from which to speak. 
4. Time went by too fast. Surprisingly. I don’t think that any panelist felt that they had managed to contribute to the subject in the ways and with the depth that they had hoped. Christina speaking from the floor at the end demonstrated this fact. Were I to do this again, I would have laid out far more specific and simple questions... and I would have asked the panel to answer these questions, not speed toward the larger ones that loomed in the near distance. That way we could have proceeded in steps, rather than in the gulps that tossed us from one set of values to the next. My first question would have been practical and more tightly specific. First, “What are the circumstances of your teaching?” Then get to “How do alternative teaching modalities show up in your classrooms?” “Can you describe an experience of successful teaching?” 
5. I would have asked each panelist to tell us a story, so that their theoretical positions could be understood in practice. Frey did this at one point and it made an enormous difference. 
6. Language needed to be easier for all of us. Beginning with my paper - it needed to be spoken more slowly and perhaps have been handed out prior to the event (Kerstin’s idea) so that people could follow what was being said. There seemed innumerable misunderstandings. But also, I would have asked the panel to also devise written statements - not too long, so that the audience could have a place from which to understand their discussion of the subject. These also would have been handed out.

I am sure there are many other critiques and ideas that we can share about this panel. What you should know is that it was the first one I have attempted to moderate in an international setting, and it was far more complex than I have ever imagined. I have learned a lot. Again, thank you for your engagement in the work and your availability to participate. 

Nita Little


Frey Faust comprehensive elaboration of the panel and very valuable reflections can also be found here in our website.

Teach Me Not Panel

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