posted on Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Because I Said So– A Lesson in Philosophy
I have always enjoyed the study of Philosophy. Philosophy inspires us to think introspectively. I know, philosophy is not for everyone.
One of the world’s most famous philosophers has a saying that is a great reminder to all of us who are parents, teachers, and learners. The saying goes, as Confucius says, “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.”
Many times in parenting and teaching, I have been guilty of telling people what to do and how to do it. Later, I expect them to recall the information or task. How many times have we said in frustration, “But I told you exactly what to do!?” Simply telling others will not ensure learning and understanding. A great coach once told me, “If you haven’t practiced it, then don’t ask kids to do it in a game.” That was great advice. It can also be applied to teaching or parenting.
I remember as a young coach calling a time-out and telling the team exactly what to do. Then, the team returned to the game, without doing anything we talked about. Were those players unintelligent? No. The coach did not understand the philosophy of teaching and learning.
We can enhance this understanding by preparing lessons that include as many of our senses as possible. Use vision by performing the task or showing it in action. It helps if learners can see teachers being positive role models of the behaviors we hope they learn. We can challenge learners to have a deeper understanding by asking them to share why it’s important to know the task we are teaching, or by asking if they could accomplish the task in a different way.
As parents and teachers, we are constantly searching for the best methods to teach young people in an ever-changing world. As we continue to search for better ways, it is good to be reminded of the words of a great philosopher. Remember to set the example and teach by action, not just words.
"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you."
As we attempt to teach others, we need to remember we can’t just expect others to learn because we said so. Include action and an open discussion so the student is placed into the lesson.
Al Kerns & the Ed Thomas Family Foundation
This post is written by Al Kerns, a long-time friend of Ed Thomas and a team member with the Ed Thomas Family Foundation. Al coached with Ed for 30+ years at Aplington-Parkersburg.