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Tracy Courtney

Peripheral Teaching

Traditionally, we've grown up in a system that follows a strict ideology in terms of teaching. The teacher spends a tremendous amount of time creating a curriculum, asks the questions, expects direct answers to the questions being asked & there's a test of retention at the end. It's the way it's always been & the way it has to be, right?

What if there was another way of teaching that removed all of the rules, was less direct, less stressful through the learning curve, less dictative, more personal & interactive? What if this method could eliminate the judgements of good or bad & right or wrong? Eliminate time constraints & incessant repetition? What if there was a way to engage the students interest instead of making all of the decisions in what we felt they should be interested in? What if it could eliminate the dreaded test at the end that is responsible for so much anxiety & stress? The class projects, the public speaking & the presentations.

To allow the resulting experiences to be an ongoing personal test, instead of monotonous memorization, & only the student could take responsibility for their choices? To make learning a personal & interactive process, that removes the concepts of time limits, grades, goal achievement & peer pressure? To take all of the responsibility off of the teacher & place it on the student, so that the teacher's new role would become simply guidance where necessary, instead of spending endless hours formulating curriculums? To do the opposite of how it's always been done?

Peripheral Teaching removes the stigmas of the authoritative figure standing above the student & allows for an equally collaborative learning curve. Where all participants begin & function on equal ground as a true partnership, where they can explore the student & pet generated questions together& find experiential answers that make sense & are lasting. Where a balance of listening & discussion can be found.

Peripheral Teaching is a role reversal, where simple & minimal amounts of information are given with the intention of initiating a particular direction of thought processes, based on the interest choices of the questioner. It doesn't require any theory or long lectures about the subject until the questioner begins to explore more deeply into the subjects. The student picks the subject of study in that particular moment based on what's most important to them at that time. As they're working together with their pet & receiving answers that make sense, this allows the habitual thought processes to soften & eases the transition into deeper listening for the answers from the pet, where a simple & mutual discussion begins to sprout.

During Parameters, we are taught the importance of beginning to use our peripheral, as opposed to direct visual observation. This is foreshadowing toward moving forward into peripheral teaching through the process of allowing our pet to become our teacher. Allowing this shift in perception is a transitional component of then moving into the middle ground of equality for a true partnership, & then begin to place all of the responsibilities of the questions, research, analysis, curriculum, answers & behaviour onto our pet, once we've learned how to listen effectively.

In short, peripheral teaching is an indirect & subtle form of shifting our pet's thoughts from their own to ours, without ever asking a direct question or repeating a mechanical formula through conventional repetition techniques. The foundation of this teaching process is to make our pet believe it was their choice to ask the questions & find the answers all on their own, without help from us. This creates a whole new outlook toward our interactions, a comfort zone of learning, enthusiasm & confidence building.