We’ve been talking about free-range learning, but another powerful metaphor is coyote teaching. Eric Hoefler [dead link] writes a thought-provoking article on the creative and destructive power of coyote, the trickster:
Tricksters live in between, answering yes and no at the same time and sincerely meaning both & thus, they are frustrating figures who offer no real answers, only more questions.
Tricksters are boundary-breakers and disruptors; they violate laws, morals, and customs; they invite chaos; they are disturbing and unsettling — but this very attribute is also part of their power to create and invent.
Tricksters are sneaky, greedy thieves — but their persistence is admirable and often leads to new solutions to a problem.
Tricksters are holy beings — though generally despised by the respectable members of the pantheon, they still rank as divine, meaning their methods may be oppositional, but what they do has lasting significance.
Coyotes leading free-range chickens has some interesting implications, but may illustrate the dynamic tension that is necessary for break-through learning. I’d suggest reading all of Hoefler’s post, and I intend to follow-up on some of the references.