April 26, 2021

Teaching Style

 Devotion for the Week...

At one time or another, we have all been in the company of a person who seemed to need to make others feel small. It's not a good feeling. It's especially bad when that person is teaching us something, so they obviously have more knowledge or skills than we do and they can use that to make themselves feel superior.

My dad is not one of those people. Years ago, after Aiden had developed an interest in football, my parents were visiting on Super Bowl Sunday so they could watch the game with him. I can't remember what we were doing that afternoon, but suddenly the power went out. There were still a few hours to go before the start of the game, so we were waiting and hoping the power would be back by then, when we heard a loud noise from the basement. Dad and Paul went to investigate and discovered that our new wood burning furnace had burst a pipe because of the power outage. They spent quite a while working on the problem and Paul was very glad Dad was here when it happened because Dad knew more than Paul did about furnaces in general, so he could figure out things that Paul couldn't. Paul said to me later, "Your father is good to work with. He explains everything he's doing and he doesn't make me feel bad about the things I don't know."

The difference between these two styles of relating to people who know less than we do about a given subject is what comes to mind when I read Proverbs 15:2a: "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing."

If someone is talking down to us as they teach us, it doesn't much matter how good their information is. We're going to leave that interaction feeling discouraged, irritated and as if we aren't good enough. How many of us have been made to feel stupid by a teacher?

On the other hand, if the person who is teaching us is patient and explains the things we don't know without making us feel bad about not knowing, then we leave feeling encouraged and valued. 

It is possible to learn from either teacher, but only one makes knowledge - and learning - appealing. Only one makes us feel like we are capable of learning new things in general.
Wise teachers make knowledge appealing | DevotedQuilter.com
We all teach things now and then. Sometimes it's a formal arrangement, like teaching school as a job or teaching a quilting class. Other times it's casual, like when we teach a friend how to make bread or teach a child how to put sheets on their bed. How we talk to the people we're teaching has a profound impact. It impacts not only how the person feels about the thing we're teaching and their ability to do it, but also their view of themselves as a whole. 

With that in mind, let's try to always be the wise teachers who make knowledge appealing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you! I don't have a teaching qualification but I do teach patchwork workshops. The idea of making 'knowledge appealing' is good to hold in my mind! I have a friend who runs a pre-school. I love to watch her with the little children as she is so good at getting alongside them and expressing a sense of wonder with them at all they are experiencing and learning.


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