YOU CANNOT TEACH ANYONE ANYTHING
"YOU CANNOT TEACH ANYONE ANYTHING;
YOU CAN ONLY HELP HER/HIM
FIND IT WITHIN HER/HIMSELF." ~ Galileo Galifei ~
This statement wakes up the question of how people learn.
If you show a child how to subtract… let’s say you place five pennies in front of a child, count them with her/him, then remove two pennies from their sight, count with them again and then ask, “how many are left?”
The correct answer, of course is “three”, but from my experience as a substitute teacher I can testify that although it’s so plainly obvious to me it’s not always so revealed to the student. It may take many examples before something clicks inside of her/him and !WALLAH! they get it.
Now then, there was definitely an “aha!” moment that took place inside their little head and the connection was made; something was learned. But did you — the teacher — teach it to them?
did you merely set up the circumstances whereby they could discover how subtraction works — did you place them in a position of being open to discovery of something new?
Is that teaching?
One human being cannot change another human being no matter how hard one tries nor how creative the tactics. Change always comes from within an individual.
A parent or parents could certainly thank their child’s first grade teacher for “teaching” their child for that first year of primary school. The parents as well may see changes in their son or daughter when comparing first day of first grade to last day. There are so many contributing factors to the changes in a six year old over a nine month period of school: socialization with other students, new structure in their lives, being exposed to concepts and ideas that are brand new, biological changes and the teacher’s leadership during their experience.
(Please understand clearly that I am not knocking the teaching profession. As a high-demand sub in grades K-12 as well as special needs for 3–1/2 school years, I have the HIGHEST respect for those in the teaching profession. I was able to be in many classrooms of many differing age groups and was always taking mental notes from teachers and administrators.)
Point of this story is that we can prepare the ground — if you will — for learning to take place. Whether we are in education, bosses with employees, tradesmen with apprentices, or family members coping with wayward children and/or relatives, we are really lighthouses for their boats which they (sometimes)seek to successfully navigate through the shoals and snags of life.
Some are way off course via drug/alcohol addiction and no matter how bright we shine a light they continue to run up on sandbars, oyster beds and hit the rock jetties. No amount of light from us nor the warning buoys which we try to place in their paths to show them the “better” way will amount to the proverbial hill-of-beans unless and until they learn that it’s up to them, and them only, to get on course. And only they can do it. We can hold their hand but we cannot crawl into their ear and enter their brain and switch some circuits around to get them on, and hopefully keep them on, course.
Perhaps it’s worth keeping this in mind when we face challenges whoever we are and whomever we are trying to “teach(reach)”. If you or I fancy the idea of “going with the flow” and living in each present-moment-now, perhaps we may draw some comfort in knowing that while we give our utmost heartfelt and strongest effort regarding others, it’s not fair for us to take full burden of blame when — to us — it seems that we are not making an impact.
We can always supply the water,
but it’s on the horse to drink it.