A Metaphor for Teaching Those We Don’t Understand

As I attempted to help a newcomer to SL and kept getting the response “I don’t see that.”  “Not on my screen”.  “Not there” “Don’t have that”, it hit me that teachers who are well-meaning but unprepared reach a level of frustration because their students “Don’t see that”.

The issue here was that I was using the OLD viewer, the viewer I am comfortable with and the newcomer was using the NEW viewer, the viewer available to newcomers to SL.  I knew what this new av needed to do and gave very specific instructions. However, the newcomer, trying to follow every step, became increasingly frustrated at being given directions for a view she did not have.  Then I became frustrated and the result was a complete lack of progress until I re-logged with the new viewer and figured out where the buttons were and how to find the functions I had been describing.  It did take some time, I was out of my comfort level and went back to my old viewer immediately following the “lesson”.  I never did find the “stop all animations”.

When a teacher is trying to teach students with a different view on life, a different culture, a different language background, a different perspective, a different comfort level – the same thing happens.  The student gets frustrated and the teacher gets frustrated resulting in lack of progress.  The solution is that the teacher acquires the necessary knowledge and skill set to be able to help the students being taught.  A teacher needs to see what the student sees, even if it is a little uncomfortable at first, in order to effectively support learning.

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