10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

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10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#1

Post by Paladin »

Classic article!

10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)
10 WAYS TO SPOT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PSEUDOTEACHING (PT) AND REAL TEACHING (RT)

1) PT delivers long, entertaining, inspiring lectures; RT designs short, intensive, learner-driven sessions

2) PT is eloquent and expansive; RT is concise and focused

3) PT addresses large groups; RT connects to individuals

4) PT doesn’t focus on small details; RT is all about details

5) PT is about talking more than watching or listening; RT is about listening and watching more than talking

6) PT is loudly charismatic; RT is quietly magnetic

7) PT is Robin Williams leaping atop desks in Dead Poets Society; RT is John Wooden, teaching his basketball players how to put on their socks properly (no wrinkles, because that causes blisters)

8) PT dismisses questions; RT craves them

9) PT treats everyone the same; RT tailors the message for each learner

10) PT delivers the exact same lecture over and over; RT customizes each session for its audience
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#2

Post by allisji »

aside from number 8 I think that there is a time and place for all of the things describing the "PT"

As for dismissing questions, it's understandable if one is addressing a large group that he or she may not be able to answer all questions or to answer questions in great detail.

I would say this. The RT method clearly is better suited for helping a student to develop a skill, whereas the PT method could be better suited for developing an understanding of a philosophy, methodology, or ideology. Sure, individual instruction theoretically could in fact do it better than a large group lecture setting, but if an instructor is greatly skilled at giving group instruction in that way, then are they not more effective when they can instruct a large group rather than trying to instruct each of those individuals in small groups or solo sessions?

I certainly never met Billy Graham or attended a Billy Graham crusade, however, he was able to reach 100,000+ people at a time as a public speaker and could do such night after night. Now I'm sure that the people who were blessed to know him and speak with him one on one where probably more deeply moved than most of the attendees at a stadium event, but millions of people accepted Christ at his rallies because they were able to get in the door, and they may not have ever accepted Christ had Billy Graham not visited their city and held a crusade at the stadium.
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#3

Post by allisji »

here's a couple of videos along the same lines from "what you would call a professional" youtuber, Paul Harrell.



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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#4

Post by Paladin »

The author of the article has written pretty extensively on the subject of developing talent The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.

It aligns with my own experience as well as neuroscience presented by Dustin Salomon:
Mentoring Shooters
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#5

Post by allisji »

Paladin wrote: Tue Aug 24, 2021 10:53 am The author of the article has written pretty extensively on the subject of developing talent The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.

It aligns with my own experience as well as neuroscience presented by Dustin Salomon:
Mentoring Shooters
I certainly don't doubt the science. And absolutely agree that the best way to develop talent is through one on one coaching.

I would suggest though that there are perfectably acceptable methods of teaching/learning that have nothing to do with one on one or small group coaching/isntruction.

Have you every learned something from reading a book? Did the author have to sit you down and look you in the eye to make sure that you understood the content? Is the author or that book a psuedoteacher? The answer may be yes, but that doesn't mean that the style was not effective.
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#6

Post by Paladin »

The first chapter of The Talent Code is available for free download.

excerpt:
let ’s say you’re on an airplane, and for the umpteenth
time in your life you watch the cabin steward give that clear,
concise one-minute demonstration of how to put on a life
vest. (“Slip the vest over your head,” the instructions say,
“and fasten the two black straps to the front of the vest. Inflate
the vest by pulling down on the red tabs.”) An hour into the
flight, the plane lurches, and the captain’s urgent voice comes
on the intercom telling passengers to put on their life vests.
How quickly could you do it? How do those black straps wrap
around? What do the red tabs do again?

Here ’s an alternate scenario: same airplane flight, but this
time instead of observing yet another life jacket demonstration,
you try on the life vest. You pull the yellow plastic over your
head, and you fiddle with the tabs and the straps. An hour later
the plane lurches, and the captain’s voice comes over the inter-
com. How much faster would you be?

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain
targeted ways—operating at the edges of your ability, where
you make mistakes—makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly
different way, experiences where you’re forced to slow down,
make errors, and correct them—as you would if you were
walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you
go—end up making you swift and graceful without your real-
izing it.

“We think of effortless performance as desirable, but it ’s
really a terrible way to learn,”
I'm no preacher and this discussion isn't about spreading the gospel. This thread is about teaching firearms, and I think the kind of teaching Mr. Coyle is talking about is directly relevant to teaching firearms. Among other things, last month I trained and certified FOUR NRA Distinguished Experts, so there is a chance I have some experience.
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#7

Post by allisji »

I certainly was never questioning your point or questioning anyone's credentials.

I am simply pointing out that there are some things which need to be learned that can best be taught by a skilled speaker (or writer) who can present the material in a way that is easily understood perhaps with some real life anecdotes in order to lead the student into a certain way of thinking about the topic.

And there are other things which need to be learned by coaching, drilling, and repetition.

Being good at one style of teaching and not at the other in my mind doesn't make one a psuedoteacher. Both styles have a time and place. And no I don't believe that a person can learn to effectively use handguns in self-defense simply by listening to podcasts. Nor do I think that a person can learn to use a handgun in self-defense only by shooting and drilling at the range, but without studying, contemplating, and understanding the law, the rules of engagement, etc.

I am no professor, trainer, instructor, coach, expert etc. I am a learner. A slow learner. I may not know how other people learn effectively, but I know how I learn effectively. I learn by a combination of 1. studying, contemplating and wrestling with a topic until I understand it and 2. by practice, repetition and coaching.

Oftentimes I give tours to new engineers at the chemical plant where I work. Sometimes people ask me for a tour and they tell me that their supervisor or a mentor told them that I give the best tours. Reading characterizations listed between PT and RT I would say that I mostly utilize the RT skills, but that I also try to leverage some of the PT skills as well in order to be most effective. I think that sometimes its important to be entertaining, inspiring, and eloquent. Sometimes it's important to be concise. Sometimes detailed. Sometimes bigger picture. But one thing that is always true is that you have to know your audience. What they expect and what they need. If you don't know the audience then it's a craps shoot as far as whether they will learn anything.
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#8

Post by Mike S »

I'm a big fan of The Talent Code. Coyle lays out three main themes as key in developing world class performance:

1. The students' drive / motivation to master the skills

2. 'Deep Practice', or deliberate, focused practice vs just repetition

3. 'Master Coaching, which entails attributes that Allisji alluded to. One of those attributes is reading the student & coaching based on the students' temperament and learning style.

From what I remember from the book, it seems best suited for learning/teaching hands-on or physical tasks. The book details the plasticity of the brain in layman's terms, but many of the recommendations could be adapted for didactic / lectures as well (overview of the entire process, then 'chunking' or breaking tasks into smaller blocks; etc).
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Re: 10 Ways to Spot Great Teachers (and Avoid Crummy Ones)

#9

Post by Paladin »

I don't think Coyle is against inspiring lectures. He writes in detail about how crucial motivation is. Its the LONG lectures that he is against. Why?
... an experiment by psychologist Henry
Roediger at Washington University of St. Louis, where students
were divided into two groups to study a natural history
text. Group A studied the paper for four sessions. Group B
studied only once but was tested three times. A week later
both groups were tested, and Group B scored 50 percent
higher than Group A. They'd studied one-fourth as much yet
learned far more....
The reason, Bjork explained, resides in the way our brains
are built. "We tend to think of our memory as a tape recorder,
but that's wrong," he said. "It's a living structure, a scaffold
of nearly infinite size. The more we generate impulses, encountering
and overcoming difficulties, the more scaffolding
we build. The more scaffolding we build, the faster we learn."
When you're practicing deeply, the world's usual rules are
suspended. You use time more efficiently. Your small efforts
produce big, lasting results. You have positioned yourself at a
place of leverage where you can capture failure and turn it
into skill. The trick is to choose a goal just beyond your present
abilities; to target the struggle. Thrashing blindly doesn't
help. Reaching does.
The underlined portion is exactly what Pat MacNamara, John Mosby, Mike Seeklander and others teach.
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