The Simplest Way

I’ve noticed a couple of things about master teachers (compared to [shall we say] teachers in progress). One is that they are indeed masters of the voice and masters of timing.Image

The most important thing though is that they present things in the simplest, clearest way. They have a gift for seeing the essence of a skill or concept and presenting it directly, simply, and probably in various ways so the auditory, verbal, and kinesthetic learners can all get it.

Once they’ve taught clearly and directly, they usually provide good practice of the skill or concept, but that also gives them a chance to walk around and see how students are getting it, helping them fine-tune their understanding, perhaps expanding on the work for those ready for that.

I believe that even complex topics can be taught simply and clearly. For example, over the years, I’ve noticed that students have a hard time understanding and writing thesis statements. This can only mean that they were taught it badly at some point, IMHO. As an example of the simplest way: for my present college students, I found a cool app that helped me make a simple, clear presentation on thesis statements: http://www.animoby.com/a/2356.

Even the most elegant thinkers and highly intelligent folk often take the path of the simple and direct. The days are long past when people thought you were smart if you obfuscated. Instead, I believe that most learners need clarity and simplicity. Often I will layer anecdotes or facts into the presentation (such as when we are learning Impressionist technique, I can add in bits about artists’ lives or drop a few details about mixing colors), but for the most part, even skilled and smart learners appreciate the clear, direct approach, the simplest way.

 

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