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Teaching And Learning - Grasshopper

I was chatting with an old friend who spent part of his career teaching school. After that conversation I was struck with this: Teachers who don’t learn are lousy teachers.

Even if you’re a recognized authority (the teacher), your subject matter will have a hard time getting through if you’re not learning too.

 

What I mean by that is that some teachers (make that most teachers in my experience) just throw up on people. They just parcel out the information and make no effort to notice if they’re connecting. They keep pontificating without any relating.

 

When I conducted seminars, I would offer up some information to the best of my ability and before I went on to the next topic on the agenda, I would ask some form of the question, “Are you with me?” or “Does that make sense?” and pay attention to the nonverbal signals being offered in response to my question. Usually, a nod meant “Yes,” and a side-to-side head shake would indicate “No” or “not sure.” If I got a “No” response, that was my clue that I was not getting through. That meant, I had to re-deliver that same information in a different way. That was me learning.

 

Everyone has something to teach you and you’ll never learn it if you stick to a method of communicating that I characterize as “I talk and you listen.” There is little learning done in a one-way communique.

 

If you want to be a better communicator or teacher, learn to pay attention to your audience whether it’s a group or one-on-one. They’ll teach you how to learn if you don’t pretend you know everything under the sun.

 

All the best,

John

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