Pods: a different type of community
In TI you will experience what we call pods, a different type of learning community based in layered and generous listening. Typically in groups of 2-4, pods are communities in which competition is suspended and prejudice is dismantled. You will have opportunities to honestly and openly discuss what really matters to you, what fuels your anxiety, and questions you have about what it means to be an effective educator. This model of community disrupts the rugged individualism rampant in classrooms, where teachers feel they should be self-sufficient, and hence often alienate themselves from the support of their peers. In TI we believe that there are always uncertainties in teaching, and learning is enhanced when we work with the support of others.
Within the pod discussions, you will paradoxically enact learner autonomy where you will be entrusted with taking ownership for your own learning, and at the same time you will enact relational accountability where you will support the learning of others. We each have our own ways of being and ideas to offer, and at the same time, we are in this boat of education together. To re-imagine a future that is better for all children, we must know where we stand and also have difficult and complicated conversations together. Another aspect of the pod community is Guided Inquiry Conversations, where you bring your personal wonderings to the larger group, in order to expand the circle of understanding even further.
Pod activities require trust on the part of the instructor. Students in the course need to go off and talk on their own. They need time and space to locate and nourish their learning spirit, their drive for lifelong learning, and their connectivity to others in the course.