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Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 6 months ago

Welcome to My Coyote Teaching Wiki!


A chance to share your thoughts on Coyote Teaching, mentoring, and unusual forms of learning.


I've been teaching since 1974 in Junior High, High School, and University. In much of that time I've employed the rather traditional approach to course delivery... lecture. Unfortunately, lecture has never been a particularly effective method of teaching. More specifically, it is not effective for the learner, especially for long-term memory and life-long learning. My interest in Coyote Teacing and Mentoring is that it seems more effective and more natural as a method of instruction. The term originates with the work of Tom Brown, Jr., and Jon Young (one of Tom Brown's former students), both of whom focus on outdoor survival skills. Given that most of us will seldom encounter a need for such skills, one wonders why I'd be interested in this at all. The answer is that the method ofeducation seems to encourage self-learning, collaboration, and the development of a cohort of mentors, each of whom shares their knowledge to another group. This form of instruction seems to fit it well with the constructivist model of education often employed in effective online courses. The instructor acts more as a guide and mentor rather than as an authority and repository of knowledge and wisdom. In turn, the student takes responsibility for his/her own learning and learns how to learn, how to focus the learning, and how life itself provides the classroom within which learning takes place.


Here are some things I've learned about coyote teaching and mentoring from the meager literature available on the subject.


  1. The instructor typically employs the Socratic method [i.e. typcially answers questions with leading questions (guiding) rather than providing answers].
  2. Much of what we need to know can be observed from the world around us. Coyote teachers are often heard saying things like "ask the vole" when asked "how do I learn to find food." This also requires a hightened awareness that must be learned and exercised.
  3. The oral tradition is strong in coyote teaching and storytelling seems to be a common way of delivering information.
  4. Coyote teachers use tricks to make a point. This is part of the "trickster" nature of the coyote mythology. The idea is to force the student to make mistakes so they can learn from them. Think about poor old Wiley-e-Coyote. If he had just learned not to use Acme equipment he'd be eating roadrunner right now.
  5. An important aspect of coyote teaching is that each student learns to learn on their own and, in turn, becomes a coyte teacher.
  6. Coyote teachers see themselves as mentors and guides not as the source of information.
  7. A common thought in coyote teaching is that one must empty one's mind before learning can take place. This implies removing preconceptions about the nature of what is to be learned.
  8. Coyote teaching encourages creativity in many forms (thus accomodating many different learning styles). The expressions of creativity can be in the form of writing, storytelling, video, dance, music, performance, art, etc.
  9. Within coyote teaching there is an underlying assumption of the "necessity" of learning that promotes engagement and active learning. Coyote teaching creates situations in which the need is evident and compelling.
  10. There is no distinction between the physical world and the spiritual worldCoyoteOK.pdf. Coyote teaching tends to think of luck as a natural, but undefined form of power. Mountains can teach. Time is not linear.



So, why the wiki?


My idea is to learn how coyote teaching methods and philosphy might be applied to other forms of education beyond outdoor survival, particularly in the classroom and online. But, because there seems to be no coyote teacher or mentor to guide me, I must be somewhat self guided, as I would hope students graduating from coyote learning experiences might demonstrate. So, to learn how to teach I must teach myself how to learn the coyote way. That's where the wiki comes in. Here are my thoughts.


  • Begin a dialogue with others interested in the application of the coyote teaching method to online class delivery.
  • Employ "best practices" of both coyote teaching (none formalized to my knowledge) and online instruction (DistanceGuidelines.pdf).
  • Focus on the constructivist educational philosophy and incorporate diverse educational expertise.


So, why are you here?


  • If you are interested you can contribute to the development of the course.
  • If you are just curious I can invite you to view what's happening without your input.
  • If you are not interested or have lost interest, let me know and I'll leave you alone.



A Developing Course Syllabus





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