School-dependent students are... like swans born out of and never put into the water. They exist denied the element conducive to their learning, the element in which they belong. They spend their school years thinking that the awkward, unskilled existence they experience on the unsupportive terrain of the classroom is just what they were born to - the way it's supposed to be. They never learn to swim because they have been deprived of their element and have had no models... Not only do these swans/students not know how to swim, but a ceiling is placed above them that inhibits them from learning to fly as well. If they ever get the chance to see the water, the element that would be conducive to their learning, they experience a sense of instinctive familiarity. When this happens, many of them wait for the teacher who will glide confidently toward them, inviting them into that element that could support their learning. Sadly, sometimes even with an invitation, many of these students will not enter the element because even though they are instinctively drawn to the water, they have never learned to swim. Out of fear they hold back, because they feel more comfortable ambling awkwardly and unskillfully on the unsupportive terrain, never experiencing the majesty of their potential... These students adapt to the learned "futility" - eternally waiting to excel. But if just one teacher persists in extending to these individuals an invitation into the element in which they belong, and if that teacher confidently models the majestic movement that can happen within that element, the students may find themselves building the courage to step in.
Yvette Jackson, The Pedagogy of Confidence, p. 168