The LEGO Teaching Philosophy*
This blog is about trying to articulate my teaching philosophy as I develop as a lecturer. After some reflections, I feel my teaching philosophy can best be described using LEGO (although sadly this is a written blog, so it’s up to you to get the real stuff out and play around with).
Equality is good, but doesn’t necessarily take into account previous inequalities. So while we all should aim to treat everyone equally, we also need to take into account that some groups or individuals will need additional support to help address previous or current experiences of prejudice or unfairness. In a perfect world, we would all be like LEGO figures and be the same height!
2. Detach, Deconstruct & Reconfigure
The thing we (and our cash) all love about LEGO is the ability to use the same bits multiple times to make very different things. While the boxes and instructions can give us ideas and they are usually the first thing we do, over time we go off script and build ever more weird and wonderful things, but still using the same box of LEGO (along with additions from ourselves or given to us by others). I see this as similar to my teaching. While I like structure and doing things in a set order, the aim is always for students to use the material as a platform to help develop their own learning and modify things to fit their interests at that time and into the future.
3. Lifelong Collectors
Like the ever-growing LEGO box, students (and teachers) never stop collecting. Instead of bricks though, it’s knowledge. The aim is always to promote lifelong learning, while being pragmatic about the realities of needing to meet certain outcomes within certain timeframes.
Power in numbers, especially when tackling those bigger task is essential. While individuals can excel on their own projects and learning, when a team works together to help and teach each other, the sum is often greater than the parts. When the team has the freedom, but suitable mentorship, to develop ideas from scratch, it can provide a unique environment for learning.
5. Make Mistakes
Simply, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. There is always something to learn from them and they are an inherent part of learning. While we should always aim to avoid easily-preventable mistakes by students and teachers, we have to often learn by doing and support each other when they inevitably happen.
*LEGO played no role in these thoughts. And didn’t give me any money. Or free stuff. :(