Just because someone knows how to do a task, does not mean they will be able to teach that task to another. A teacher can more effectively teach if they set aside their own ego and step inside the skin of the learner. In other words, teachers should ‘get down on the floor’ and start from the point their student is at, rather than standing ‘on high’ and expecting a student to understand a basket of unintelligible jargon.
A teacher who is able to deconstruct a particular skill into a sequence of component parts and scaffold or model each step while allowing the learner time to practice for themselves, is more likely to share the secret to developing that skill.
A teacher who actively listens and takes responsibility for the communication process is a teacher who offers hope rather than frustration.
Check out the youtube clip below from the musical Mary Poppins. It is interesting in its portrayal of the differing expectations of child and parent. Although it considers the role of a Nanny, we can use it as a starting point for a discussion on what students want from their teachers.
If you were writing an advertisement for a new teacher, what qualities would you be looking for?
While you are thinking about this, reflect on your own ability to share the secrets of a particular skill with another. Do you ‘show’ or ‘teach’ – do you know the difference between the two 🙂