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.

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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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