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Cars, trucks, buses and metaphor

By Noigroup HQ Metaphor and language, Education for all 08 Aug 2018

Cars and trucks

In 2010 Steve Jobs, the late founder of Apple, likened iPads to cars and personal computers to trucks. Cars are smaller, more nimble, better suited to modern urban streets. Trucks are still needed for heavy lifting, but not everyone wants to drive a truck around all the time.
The beauty of metaphor is their malleability and ability to transcend domain. Might there be a car and truck analogy in education? In 2018 the educational cars might be YouTube and online content – fast, nimble and easily accessible. Textbooks, other printed materials could be likened to trucks – still required, there to do the heavy lifting and help keep the whole enterprise running.
If you’re providing education as an intervention, have you got your cars and trucks sorted? Are you using both appropriately?

The wrong bus

Staying with the transportation metaphor, Seth Godin recently blogged about getting on the wrong bus. To paraphrase – ‘It’s a mistake, but the bigger mistake is staying on the bus. It may have taken effort to get on the bus in the first place, but staying on the wrong bus won’t make it the right bus. If you really want to get to where you want to go, you need to get off the wrong bus’.
Each clinical encounter might be like getting on a bus – there are opportunities for mistakes to be made initially. The key questions to ask yourself are whether you are on the wrong bus, and whether you can make the call to get yourself and your client off the wrong bus and onto the right one. (Perhaps in some ways, healthcare got on the wrong bus a long time ago and still hasn’t gotten off)

Learn the violin

Metaphors are everywhere – they can shape how we think and help us solve problems by showing us new ways of thinking. Some of the best metaphors for new thinking in health care may be out there in other domains – technology, marketing, or business. Peter Drucker, one of the best known thinkers and writers on the philosophy of management was once asked how to be a better manager, his response was “Learn how to play the violin”. He likely would have answered the same if someone asked how to be a better therapist.

Learning to play the violin is a metaphor of course.

What does it mean to you?

-NOI Group

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  1. cello456tiger

    I wonder if Peter Drucker can play the violin? If anyone were to take him literally to find out what he meant, they might find themselves taking a bit of a gamble because many people teach the violin without really understanding what is involved. For anyone who does know, it means to take a project that is enormously complex and to organise it into a step by step process. Mr Drucker knows that some people are just not cut out for management (seriously undervalued), hence the metaphor.

  2. The problem for treating using a BPS model in a private practice and going against a “damage” paradigm, is I feel I am on the right bus but the upkeep is very costly and apart from a certain pride in my ethical stance, I am not even sure that I will just end at the same destination.

  3. As a SIM, it takes time and patience to learn but the end result will be a beautiful sound to the ears of those that like violins 🎻
    As a DIM, it conveys hopelessness in that it’s as hard as trying to learn to play the violin 😡
    Matching metaphors to people is the real skill
    DB Enjoying a glass of 🍷

  4. Gary A Jacob

    METAPHOR be with you!

  5. The first thought that jumped to my mind in terms of the violin metaphor is this:
    Assuming we have all learned the violin ( are trained physios) – we can each be given the same score of music (patient) – but the sound that comes from us and therefore “heard” by our patients may be completely different. We need to be intentional with the sounds/knowledge that we are making/giving specific to the audience who is receiving it in order to have the greatest impact . .. (do you want it to sound lovely and inviting or fierce and abrupt – the experience will be vastly different based on how we approach it . .)

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