classic classroom

Show & Tell: A Working Pattern

Kirby Urner


What are the dynamics of learning a practice? Draw your experiences from any and every corner of your life.

What I come up with is we need to talk about the role of peers, how to work with them, in addition to who and what are they.

Let’s go back to a classic classroom of kids at their desks, teacher up front, like we see in so many movies. The peers are the students, and they check each other out, for looks, for behaviors, for cues, for clues. They also check out the teacher, and learn from student-teacher interactions. How the adult in the room behaves with peers one’s own age, is of interest, in addition to the subject matter.

Suppose the teacher encourages show & tell, meaning she or he sets aside time during meetups for lightning talks, meaning students showcase their own work for minutes at a time. Perhaps these sessions get recorded. Perhaps students have access to the raw recordings and edit together their own works, in turn topical in show & tell (like in a filmmaking class).

A core purpose of Show & Tell is to give peers a way to assess their own performance relative to the class material, and not just relative to classroom theatrics, which I reiterate are not irrelevant. They do this by comparing their own increasing level of mastery with that of others.