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Coyote Teaching

COTEF programs are taught using the “Coyote Teaching” method passed down to Tom Brown, Jr. by Stalking Wolf. This approach seeks to spark curiosity and create a self-directed learning experience that teaches the student how to seek answers on their own versus becoming dependent on a teacher.

As “coyote” teachers we bring the mysteries of nature to our students in a way that they can be inspired to learn on their own. In this case the definition of the “coyote” is not necessarily the “trickster”, however the keeper of knowledge.

Tom Brown, Jr. on Coyote Teaching-

Grandfather never answered any of our questions the way most people would answer a question. He would either point us in the direction of the answer, or ask us a series of questions, all designed to make us think.

A "coyote teacher" makes every learning experience exciting, something we desperately want to know. He planned each lesson like a chess game or jigsaw puzzle, where one teaching led to another.

But he never forced any teaching on us; instead, he maneuvered the situation so we had to know, had to go on. "How do we build a shelter?" we would ask.
He would answer "Ask the squirrels." We would ask "How does a bow-drill fire work?" and he would answer "Rub your hands together." Or we would ask "How can we track foxes better?" and he would reply "Track mice." He made each teaching special, exciting, and something we desperately needed to know. And as always, the lessons would go far deeper than just the superficial, reaching to all realms of our lives."

from Field Guide to Nature and Survival for Children