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Teaching by not teaching

While drifting around the www looking for information on flash photography I came across this quote:

“The trick to education, is to teach people in such a way that they don’t realize they’re learning until it’s too late.”

The person who uttered these wonderful words was the late Harold Eugene Edgerton, MIT professor and flash photography pioneer.  Sounds as though he was one heck of a teacher too.  I one hundred percent agree with his approach to education, but I have found that some students are not clever enough to understand that they are learning, until it is too late.  Then there are those who don’t want to learn anything in the first place.

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Anyway, the success of this approach depends on how skilful the teacher is in teaching by not teaching, well, by not using obvious techniques.  Indeed, all teachers need to be taught the ability to teach stealthily.  Generally, as I have noticed from being on both sides of the desk, if you make learning interesting and it ceases to be a chore and starts to become a pleasure.  Once the chore factor has been removed, real progress can be made.

I do try to employ Edgerton’s approach, mainly by keeping the atmosphere in my lessons quite light and, this is really important: by showing an interest in what I am teaching and in who I am teaching.   And I just love it when those who attend my classes show real signs of progress.  Talk about job satisfaction.

End of pontification.

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