Blog 8: We’re No Longer in Kansas, Toto

wizard of oz

We’re No Longer in Kansas, Toto

            The famous film, Wizard of Oz, portrays the charisma of a young girl named Dorothy who arrives unexpectedly in the Land of Oz. After her unexpected arrival and the death of the Wicked Witch of West, Dorothy sets out on a journey in search of the yellow brick road that leads to the Emerald City.  Through Dorothy’s journey in Munchkinland, Dorothy meets the Scarecrow, The Lion, and The Tin Man.  Together, the four of them take on evil to fulfill their goal:  the Lion desires courage, the Tin Main wants a heart, and the Scare Crow yearns for a brain.  Through adversity and guidance from The Good Witch of the North, the four friends conquer their fears to achieve their goals.  In chapter 7, An Evolutionary, Democratic Learning community, Peter Johnston explains how a teacher has to orchestrate a student’s learning by creating an environment that supports students to be creative, analytical problem-solvers, and work collectively.  As teachers, we use our words and actions to lead students onto the yellow brick road to find their heart, their brain, and their courage through social imagination and placing yourself in other persons’ shoes.

In the movie, the journey of self-discovery was more powerful than providing a direct answer to the Scare Crow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.  Johnson explains that a teacher can help guide students through self-discovery by the type of questions that are asked.  Johnson suggests simple questions such as, “I wonder…” (68) or “Are there any other ways to think about that? Any other opinions?” (69). Dorothy demonstrates through her optimism she set the tone to help guide her friends through many adventurers.  The friends solved their fears by working collaboratively, considering each other’s viewpoint, and using their imagination to find solutions.

The power of the silver shoes signifies the importance of placing yourself in your student’s shoes develops the viewpoint to see life through multiple perspectives.  As students learn about different viewpoints and perspectives they are challenged to adjust and react.   Johnson categorizes the term, “intermental development zone (IDZ)” (69) in which students learn to adjust to social and cultural situations.  IDZ clearly supports that building empathy will help students acquire the skill of adjusting to various situations, which helped Dorothy and her friends in the film.  For example on their wild adventurer, Dorothy and the trio of friends battled winged monkeys and killed a giant spider.  The different viewpoint shared amongst their friends helped the friends create and support their “social imagination” (70).

As we embark on the yellow brick road, plan to guide your students through many adventurers through optimism and social imagination as they take responsibility to dictate their own learning by considering other viewpoints.


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3 Responses to Blog 8: We’re No Longer in Kansas, Toto

  1. viriloveslit says:

    I love and enjoyed how you brought in “The Wizard of Oz” into what we read in Chapter 7. It is true, teachers should help guide their students in the yellow brick road. By letting the students find their own answers to their own questions, it will make it all more meaningful like it was for the characters in “The Wizard of Oz”. I agree with you that teachers let the students be in control of their imagination and take their own responsibility of how they are going to obtain their answers gaining different viewpoints and “almost” answers along the way in their journey.


  2. monchy800 says:

    Great comparison of the chapter and “The Wizard of Oz.” It’s a clever and brilliant way of understanding what Johnston values. Like you said, it takes optimisim, courage, intellect, and heart for teachers to create a supportive learning environment. For future teachers we should take into account what these qualities can do for our students and how it will help them learn critically and analytically.


  3. I loved how you tied Wizard of Oz to the reading, and how teachers can help their students get on the yellow brick road. I agree a child is apply to excel and reach their goals with the words the teachers use. If a teacher gives a child positive feedback that will motivate the child to keep up the good work. I a teacher gives a child a negative feedback that may harm the child’s learning skills and the child will stop trying. As teachers it is the job to for them to educate as well as guide the child to be creative, adventures, and risk takers. A teacher needs guide the child onto the yellow brick road.


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