The listeners who called in had all kinds of interesting things to say about teaching and learning. Perhaps the most intriguing was one man who spoke of how “three” or “five” is a magic number in group situations. He said that when there are three people or five people, the group can come to a decision more quickly than if there are an even number of participants. His comment reminded me of the work I’ve been doing recently on “bridging polarities.” Teaching and learning are polarities, and Getting Messy is about bridging the teaching-and-learning polarity (finding our way to “third space” where we are both teachers and learners). But when groups come together, there are also many other potential polarities that might be present (men/women, young/old, conservative/liberal to name a few). What happens when you have three people, five people, seven people, and so on, is that you have a “mid-point.” An even number of people (metaphorically speaking anyway), suggests that the group could split evenly into two opposing camps.
In any case, I send a big thank you out to Jefferson Public Radio and their listening audience. It was great fun (…and a little messy!)