Teaching for Growth

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ~Goethe

“Doing is demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, and teachers.” ~Richard Bach

Everyone has the power to teach and impact others.  Learning about the world around us is an integral part of human nature.  From the smallest element to the largest obstacle, everything is worth learning if the interest exists.

It is a proven fact that one can learn quicker and retain information longer when the information is learned from a friend or a trusted acquaintance.  A high school student may have very little interest in a particular subject when listening to a teacher, but when their fellow classmate reiterates the point and adds their own view, the student processes the information much clearer, and is more inclined to have their own opinion on the subject.

Sadly, there is an art to teaching that the most experienced university professor or grade school teacher may lack.  The teacher, who ever it may be, could be extremely knowledgeable, but even she could be missing the most important link between teacher and learner.  There must be a connection and the patience to listen back.  Naturally, the learner will often ask questions if there is a trusted connection between him and the teacher, and in turn, with patience, the teacher is forced to reevaluate the subject.  This last step in the process is the most important.  Being both questioned and evaluated actually causes the teacher to learn from the student.  If the two are open-minded, the flow of ideas and knowledge is able to grow and be freely shared.

The binding fiber that holds the circle of learning together is to never, for one moment, think you are more knowledgeable than someone else.  To think this automatically makes you ignorant.  It doesn’t matter if you are a doctor, janitor, scientist or waitress, everyone on this planet has something to learn, and something to teach.  You might know everything there is to know about writing an interesting children’s novel that has sold millions of copies and brought you both fame and riches, but imagine how much the person overseas knows about manufacturing and binding your book.  The conversation between two ‘experts’ could be eye-opening and life-changing.

Also, one piece of knowledge is not necessarily more valuable than another.  The doctor who prescribes sleeping pills to an insomniac is not more valuable than the woman who bakes exquisite wedding cakes.  Both the doctor and the baker are extremely knowledgeable in their own field and impact society in very important ways.

Never stop wanting to learn, and never stop yearning to teach.

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