Our Goal is Role-Reversal


We developed this diagram for Community Health Instructors (“I”) running 20 minute workshops for largely illiterate rural adults.  In a mere 20 minutes, the Instructor should:

  • Stage 1: present simple clear instructions on a specific topic in about 5 minutes
    – for example “How to handle a person with a severe burn.” 
  • Stage 2: engage Participants (P) in paired activities which practice the steps presented
    – the Instructor actively circulates, encouraging, reminding, clarifying and monitoring
  • Stage 3: selected Participants (now confident that they know how to handle such situations) are encouraged to 'perform' in some way (drama, demonstration, drawing, …)
    Where the skill has been fully learned, the 'Instructor' takes on the role of the 'observer' and the 'Participants' show, by their performance, that they now know what to do.


 What is true in 20 minutes of Community Health Education can be equally true over longer stretches of time:

over a lesson
over a unit
over a school year
over twelve (plus) years of schooling
over the journey from infant to adult

Success”, as a parent, is accompanying a child from total dependency to independent adulthood.

Success”, as a “Primary 4” teacher is equipping fresh new “P3's” for life as “P5's”

Success”, in any lesson is having students demonstrate at the end of the lesson that “they get it”

As Maria Montessori said:

The greatest sign of a success for a teacher
    ...is to be able to say,
"The children are now working as if I did not exist."

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