A lesson based on the teacher’s ignorance


January 14, 2014 by Willy Cardoso


I was kindly invited to submit a lesson idea for the Disabled Access Friendly Campaign in April 2013. Many months later, when I finally sat down and thought ‘Okay, let’s do it’, I realized I didn’t know much about the topic and therefore, how could I put together an interesting lesson about it? So I thought that perhaps I could share the process I went through to learn more about mobility disability and offer it as a model for an inquiry-based lesson.

You’ll find the lesson/model/report here:

Mobility Disability: an inquiry-based lesson, by Willy Cardoso


This was also really insightful – pedagogically speaking.

Think about it:

The lesson was built up from the teacher’s ignorance.

And as such it has some interesting elements:

  • It is a genuine inquiry, it generates engaged questions, therefore the teacher is ‘present’ in the material. S/he owns it. I imagine many students are able to spot when the teacher is genuinely interested in the topic, and I imagine it should make a difference in their engagement as a consequence. 
  • Problem-posing over problem solving.There is no right answer. There is no answer key. The process of using the language to inquire is the driving force of getting better at the language; not like many times when the driving force is finding the correct answer, i.e. more product-oriented and infinitely less open-ended.
  • The teacher needs to be critical, reflective and confident. In this lesson in particular, I was disclosing my ‘ignorance’ and my chain of thoughts, and the process of my inquiry. So, it’s a lot about ‘how I think’, which is influenced by an array of elements that can be found in (critically) reading my text (e.g. bias, political inclination, home culture, profession, etc)


I don’t know if anyone will actually use the lesson/model I sent to the campaign. I wish a lot of people tried it because first and foremost it raises awareness and questions about mobility disability, and that is why I wrote it in the first place.

But for me, now that I’ve done it myself, I see the inquiry and write up as a powerful personal and professional development experience. And I would heartily recommend you write an inquiry-based lesson plan; based on your own ignorance. 🙂


It wasn’t the intention, but now in hindsight I can also see how this post answers some questions I raised on the previous one


One thought on “A lesson based on the teacher’s ignorance

  1. Hi Willy,

    The Disabled Access Friendly team would like to thank you once more for accepting our invitation to write a lesson plan, which would highlight issues of mobility disability. We are also very appreciative of your efforts to spread the word about our work by disseminating information about your lesson plan. Our campaign is completely dependent on the kind, voluntary support of people like you, who help us provide information about mobility disability via the EFL classroom, thus building pathways to caring and action.

    Katie Quartano
    Disabled Access Friendly team

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