Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pattern Recognition #2 - the Art of Teaching

We go through learning curves over and over again. We become proficient in one job or an area of life. Then we change jobs or careers, move, get divorced or create a new relationship. We learn our way around a new town, a new way of making a living, a new way of building a relationship.

We keep getting practice in humility. We keep getting practice in learning what it is like to be a beginner again.

A long time ago, I found this idea by Robert Grudin to be always appropriate. He says: Those of us who teach, whether we realize it or not, are always teaching three things at the same time.
1. The subject at hand.
2. The art of investigation.
3. The art of teaching.

At each step on our journey, we have the opportunity to change so that we do not keep making the same mistakes over and over. We will probably never be free of making mistakes, but at least we can avoid making the same ones again.

Being a student makes us simplify. If we do not know things, we cannot make assumptions. That makes us break a thing down to building blocks so that we can understand it from a basic point of view. In so doing, we may rediscover even better ways of teaching, and better ways of learning.

The magic of being up and down and starting over again is that we always have opportunities to do better on this next round.

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