the Telescope

Unpacking the Telescope

Having ‘sighted’ the Learning Objective, here is where the true magic begins.   The teacher – with all h/er degree course, holistic understanding of the Learning Objective – needs to ‘unpack’ it.   The whole Learning Objective (the topic) needs to be broken down so that the pupil can begin to access it.   A skilled teacher does not wade straight in with the issues and analysis of a topic, s/he will plan the lesson which starts with identifying the topic (knowledge), then showing how it works (understanding) and finally, if a pupil can get that far, nurture analysis or discussion of it (evaluation).   The lesson is the topic unpacked (which takes a high level of discerning analysis on behalf of the teacher, we do need to know our subjects at degree-level).   Teaching is the alchemy of taking the pupils’ minds through the lesson, of making them see, guiding them, allowing them, clueing them in, clueing them through, pointing them to the Bigger Picture of the Learning Objective.   This requires the art of communication – the tricks, foolery, adjustment and dancing which can never be captured in a tick-box sheet of paper.   This is where the power of the teacher lies, not just in producing the lesson (a marvel in itself if well unpacked – and mapped), but in taking the pupil through the lesson (the creative, unmethodical dynamic which is communication).   The ‘telescope’ needs to be opened out in order to see through it.

Looking Through the Telescope

The pupil’s learning – the response to the lesson – is one of finding and then integrating.   Finding straight facts is one level of learning, categorising them is a higher level, linking them together is a higher level, relating them is yet higher, testing them is yet higher still, analysing them still higher, contextualising them from a macro perspective…   Each successive level of learning requires the fitting of what has been already learnt into a wider perspective – integration.   The lazy pupil will be satisfied with the straight facts (the disaffected pupil won’t even get this far); the enquiry of a pupil (or the skill of a teacher) will seek to see how far their knowledge can be taken.   If the way to integrate the knowledge is clear (again the skill of the teacher) learning will develop (not just be ‘received’).   The telescope will be folded back once the view has been seen: knowledge fits into understanding fits into evaluation.



evaluation wormhole: tag cloud poem VI – anyone’s eyes
knowledge teaching craft & understanding wormhole: the View: from Here to the Learning Objective to the Learning Horizon
teaching art wormhole: The Future of Teaching: performance or capability (‘oh, not ‘teaching’ then?’)


2 thoughts on “the Telescope

  1. Very much enjoyed this, In a way if I understand right when it came to computers, I very much did this then worked backwards in a way finding out what value to me each component had. Each part relies on the other to provide merit to the user. But the questions of how it works and how to fix it when window 95 fails to boot. These things kept me going for years just before the search engines appeared with long winded search’s to compare knowledge against what has been learned and what is not known. I am still there asking – But is it still true. The young girl in the house says I am a bit of a know it all, but she has missed the point and has not realized I am find It all, compare it all and see if it stands up to the examination of observational understanding. Then when I fix a computer I don’t start with what is the problem I start with what is not the problem. That way I can discount at least 5 components before even I start for a search for a possible fix, well at least I used to. Some times you have to have a quick look inside the telescope to find out how the mirrors work and if they move freely before greater understanding can continue. I think I would make a rubbish teacher though I lack the patience.


  2. I think I see: looking into (the causes and conditions) rather than just looking at (and expecting, effects and results); I love the reference ‘when I fix a computer … I start with what is not the problem’ – sublime, you play with cause and effect rather than become its prisoner; playing is the highest cognitive learning skill, but unfortunately it puts people on the fringes of society and purpose because it doesn’t respect the return for the ‘investment’


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