Based on Alison Gopnick's book "The Carpenter and the Gardener", Prakash spoke about the mindset of the Gardener (being effective) and Carpenter (being efficient).
- The Efficient Carpenter focuses on building their craft so that projects can be done quicker, less cost and less effort. Many of these are what we would call quantitative measures.
- The Effective Gardener referring to the planting of the garden according to quality, relevancy and timeliness, in tune with the seasons. Many of these are qualitative measures, harder to measure.
The Carpenter educator is controlling, hierarchical and standardised and the Gardener educator is empowering, distributed, flexible and personalised.
Prakash's powerpoint slide courtesy of Bec West
He drew parallels with the 'cell like' structures of the old school environment and the organic flowing flexible environment of the newer learning spaces that you might find in newer school buildings. Building on the theme that as educators we need to be more like a gardener rather than a carpenter.
Listen to Prakash Nair talk about Learning Spaces.
Of course conference goers expressed their delight at this new concept on twitter; even though the idea of free range learners isn't a new one and has been brought out many times by 'progressive' presenters over the years. Back in 1998 Jamie McKenzie was talking about free range students and how connected learning would release students from the learning confines of the traditional industrial classroom.
Relating it back to our School Library
Our libraries are like a garden, we plant seeds of knowledge and ideas in the minds of students and try and nurture them with an environment conducive to learning. In our learning commons, we have hot drinks and cookies for homework clubs, we rearrange furniture for events and always respond with a "yes". Our goal is to create the best learning environment.
Whilst unpacking this keynote, it reminded me of the Kipling poem "The Glory of the Garden". Kipling talks about a beautiful English garden but then as the poem goes on, it talks about the importance of the gardeners and how gardens don't really grow unless they are properly cultivated.
Is your library being properly cultivated? Is it tended by weekend gardeners (teachers without library qualifications) or landscape gardeners (teacher librarians).
Gopnik, A. (2016). The gardener and the carpenter: What the new science of child development tells us about the relationship between parents and children.