Home' Teacher : November 2010 Contents AT THE CHALKFACE 65
apparently benign, can in fact subvert the
cycle of natural growth.
'A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared. He sat
and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to force its body through that
little hole. Then it seemed to stop making
any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten
as far as it could, and it could go no further.
'So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and snipped off
the remaining bit of the cocoon.
'The butterfly then emerged easily, but
it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled
'The man continued to watch the butter-
fly because he expected that, at any moment,
the wings would enlarge and expand to be
able to support the body, which would con-
tract in time.
'Neither happened! In fact, the butter-
fly spent the rest of its life crawling around
with a swollen body and shrivelled wings.
It never was able to fly.
'What the man, in his kindness and haste,
did not understand was that the restricting
cocoon and the struggle required for the
butterfly to get through the tiny opening
were Nature's way of forcing fluid from the
body of the butterfly into its wings so that
it would be ready for flight once it achieved
its freedom from the cocoon.'
Teachers are in the highly privileged posi-
tion of being able to discern and choose how
best to support the unique learning needs of
their students. Students need teachers who
have the skill of providing the opportunities
for every one of them to become magnificent
butterflies, not simply speedy caterpillars. T
Brian Brennan is an education consultant
who is curre ntly working with the Bendigo
Educ ation Plan. Contact bbrennan10@
Bánáthy, B.H. (1996). A syste ms view and
syste ms design in education . In P. Jenlink
(Ed.) Syste mic Change: Touchstones for the
Future School. Palatine, IL: IRI Skylight.
Robinson , K. (2010). Bring on the learn-
ing revolution! Available at w ww.ted.com/
talks/sir_ken_ robinson_bring_ on _the_ rev -
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