Letting Someone Learn
When we find ourselves in a one-on-one teaching situation, the natural temptation is to “help” our student to solve the problem. Learning to use any wood turning lathe chisel provides a good example. As long as I can remember, we have taught the A-B-C method. Attach-Bevel-Cut; attach the tool to the tool rest firmly, rub the bevel of the cutting edge, raise the handle to engage to cut.
Actually doing it in one smooth action takes practice, just like riding a bicycle. It is easy once you get the hang of it. I always have to fight the urge to reach over and “help” my student with the motion. I want to learn for them. After all, how hard could it be? The same situation is true with learning the skew chisel. It isn’t difficult once you understand. Why then does the skew present so many issues for so many folks? Until the light bulb goes off in their mind and understanding comes, the skew above any other lathe chisel reacts badly to incorrect presentation.
Unless your student understands the lesson for themselves, you haven’t succeeded in teaching them the lesson at hand. When it comes to our own children and grandchildren, we would make all of their mistakes for them. We would take the pain ourselves and avoid the consequences mistakes bring. But, that is not how they learn. Show them by example, then let they practice on their own. It is a difficult thing, but it is the right thing to do because that is how they grow and mature.
As a child, I struggled to learn to read and even more with learning math. My mother did her best to teach me at the kitchen table which lead to bouts of screaming and crying, her screaming, me crying. It was painful, but I eventually got it.
Over the course of my business career, I have trained several thousand salespeople and managers in a variety of different businesses. Although the business may change, the most successful teaching methods do not change. I have always been compensated based on performance so it was in my interest to use whatever worked best, regardless of what someone else thought would be a better method. I just did what produced the best results.
Let me suggest a method which I have come to treasure over time because it works magnificently well.
When you are called on to be the teacher, I hope you will be patient enough to allow your students to struggle until they get it for themselves because wherever you go, there you are.
Here is my inspiration for this message:
Proverbs 22:6 KJV Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
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