The golf course and the classroom

Never doubt the power of a good metaphor.

I’m very found of metaphors and this week it was proposed to our group to think of a metaphor for the classroom. My first lazy reaction was to stick to the one I always used, the garden. However, I started thinking about it and I realised that even being a really nice one, the garden is to a very great extent a limited vision of the classroom because the are many complex interactions that the image does not cover. So my new image is the golf course and the game of golf.

As a game of golf, a lesson is a social, organic, flexible and complex event that involves not only direct participants but is also integrated in the local community and in a worldwide professional network.

As golf courses, classrooms are places where learning takes place at personal and group level; at different paces, at different moments, under different circumstances; with participants using different tools and strategies to reach their goals.

As basic golf equipment, classroom materials are essential to play the game, but clubs, balls and clothing are just tools and are designed to help golfers to improve their performance. They are not the essence of the game.

As golf courses, classrooms are flexible spaces that change over time, are frequently adapted and have some features redesigned. They are living spaces that mature and change and harbour a range of species and ‘wild life’. Each course, is unique.

As golf , learning is a life-long experience . You can start very early in life; you may start later; you can play till you become a senior citizen. It depends on how much you committ yourself to the game.

As golf courses, classrooms are full of harzadous situations – bunkers, roughs,water, trees on the way, narrow bending fairways and slippery greens. You play to improve your understanding of these situations, overcome them and become a better ‘golf learner’.