ART & ORGANISM
THE TEACHABLE MOMENT
“The teachable moment creates opportunity for a transformative learning experience and represents the crucial insight that behavior is the result of internal as well as external structures and processes. In traditional teaching we are too often and too easily satisfied by traditional metrics of successful teaching. At such times, we may neglect the higher calling of our profession: to engender meaning. [this is done by creating connections] In this way, course content that is realized beyond mere knowing is owned by the student in ways that enable its creative applicability in other contexts. The difficulty is in the fact that meaning for us and for each individual student are never exactly the same. But as teachers we can launch students into the world where they can grab hold of the abstract knowledge we want them to realize by finding, in their own depths, the ties that bind content to life and foster a life of creative connections. Enabling students to do this is our self-actualization, this is our greatest legacy. “ (adapted from Chap 2 of The Phenomenological Heart of Teaching and Learning (Routledge 2019) Chap 2, p.29)
As teachers (and we all teach each other) can we hope to create TEACHABLE MOMENTS during which TRANSFORMATIVE LEARNING is possible? [Phenomenologically-informed, We argue “yes!”] [more about this at the A&O webpage on The Transformative Learning Experience]
In many respects the teachable moment occurs when one is in THE RIGHT PLACE AT THE RIGHT TIME (to use a more familiar and intuitive) This is reflected in the abundant discussions of innate/acquired (instinct/learning) amongst ethologists
Of course, the windows of opportunity—sensitive periods, in ethology—for a learning experience—even a very rapid learning experience—vary with age (brain maturation) and experience such that a profound influence at one age may be impotent at another. A good ethological model for neuro/behavioral plasticity might be the changes in sensitivity of some nestling birds to shadows of overflying birds in evoking an alarm response—the hawk/goose effect. –what is innate may be the possibility of making a connection, but that can only be provided by experience.