A teaching secret #meded


Category : Attending Rounds

Recently, I participated in a panel discussion.  During the discussion I stressed the importance of humility in teaching.  I challenged the teachers to ask their learners questions about the topic they taught the previous week.  If the learners did not remember the lesson, the teacher should take responsibility.  Our job is to induce learning.

We can give a brilliant talk on a subject, but if the learners do not absorb the lesson, then we have not succeeded.  The purpose of teaching is helping the learners.

Too often early in my career I had pride in my ability to lecture in small groups and large groups.  I misunderstood the learning process.  I assumed that my brilliance (tongue firmly in cheek) would translate into great learning.

Now, having embraced teaching humility, I understand that the learning process has great complexity.  Often after I give a crystal clear explanation, a learner will ask for clarification.  I have learned that learning is much more difficult than lecturing.

If you teach, check with your learners periodically to see if the can remember your lessons.  Once you learn that often they do not, start practicing repetition.  If at first you do not succeed ….

Comments (1)

Teaching adults is very complex and I don’t totally blame myself when learners don’t remember something I “taught” them. I’m not sure we teach a lot…I think facilitate is more appropriate.

I believe in Malcolm Knowles’ Andragogy principles.

1) are more self directed learners and need to take responsibility for their own learning. Teachers should help learns discover their knowledge deficits and start them on the course of their own learning
2) use experience to shape learning and knowledge. Teachers can help learners link their prior experience to current issues
3) want to learn info that is pertinent to their current needs and lives. As teachers we need to focus teaching on things that will be used and not the esoteric
4) are problem-centered and not subject centered. They will learn when they can use the info to solve problems. They are unlikely to remember info that is not immediately applicable.
5) are more internally motivated to learn. He is where teachers can try to inspire curiosity and desire. External carrots don’t work.
6) want to know why they need to know something. Teachers need to make sure learners understand why something is important to know.

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