Updated Metaphor by Mike Berger

The metaphor that guides education
has become dated. “Filling an empty
glass with vintage wine”, has its problems.
This one size fits all metaphor fails
those kids who bring a full glass.
They must kick their minds into neutral
while the others are trying to catch up.

I’ve seen kids with an empty glass.
When given a crayon and piece of paper,
they eat the crayon not knowing what it is.
I’ve also seen six-year-olds who are reading
at a seventh grade level, bored out of their
minds stringing macaroni beads. Should
our educational metaphor apply only to
those kids with no time in the sandbox?
Surely they need all the help they can get,
but is there a better metaphor?

I think a better metaphor would be
each child is a precious piece of Carrara
marble. You chip away at the rock sculpting
a thing of beauty. Some delicate children
need a sculptor’s gentle touch. Some tough
little boys may need a heavy chisel and a
very large hammer.

To replace the old metaphor with the new
sounds as if it might create anarchy. I think
we should give it a try. Let’s start by firing
all the curriculum specialists in leaving the
design and carving to the teachers.

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