Show don’t tell

25 Jul

Years ago when I was learning the ropes a veteran woodwork teacher shared a few valuable home truths – I was on my first teaching practice.

Lying under a plane tree on holiday in Carcassone I remembered the event.

I was on break duty when a fight broke out between two strapping teenage lads and I as I stepped in to break it up the Woodwork teacher said “Steady on bonny lad leave it be”

Shocked I said “I thought we were supposed to maintain order and set a good example”

“The thing is lad, these boys get very little physical affection from their Mams. It’s their way of getting a cuddle. It’ll be over in a sec and they’ll be bezzie mates, you’ll see”

Sure enough after a brief scuffle and a few traded punches both lads, breathing deeply stepped back and shook hands.

This teacher then said to me “son you only need two things to be a good teacher: you need to really like kids, and you need to be able to make them cry. What you know is not what they will remember”. He taught me a most valuable insight – stand back, watch and listen.

This is a short video of me showing a boy how to whittle. Sent to me by the boy’s dad – Jon Harrison – it illustrates another favourite teaching tenet: show, don’t tell.

Trust breeds trust – the boy was very receptive to my occasional interjection to refine his technique. Hopefully all he will remember is that he can do it himself.


One Response to “Show don’t tell”

  1. Wes Hedge July 25, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Agree! Remember the very place and time my old woodwork master ‘showed’ me how to set and use a plane. Stuck with me ever since.

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