The 3 Teaching Discoveries:
Teaching is something we do all the time. In romantic relationships, we teach our partner how to support us. Your boss teaches you how to satisfy their expectations.
Unfortunately, we don’t teach clearly. Our partners and bosses sometimes teach conflicting lessons. We do the same to them.
This leads to confusion, mistrust, and disappointment. To create more harmony we must understand what we are teaching. We must mold our lessons to create more clarity.
This post is about how to start that process today.
Being Taken to School
Last week at the Bhaktishop Yoga School we practiced teaching a sequence of poses to a partner.
After our first session, I noticed 3 things that apply to every teaching relationship.
Here are the 3 Teaching Discoveries I made:
1. We Speak Our Own Language –
Everyone has his or her own dictionary. This dictionary is full of references to their life. The dictionary works great, until we use it to teach.
We expect everyone to know what we mean by a certain phrase or word. But everyone else translates our words with their own dictionary.
We have to be mindful of what we say and what it means. Or we risk confusing everyone around us.
For example, when I say, “Put a string on the crown of your head and lift.” this triggers 100 actions in my mind.
‘The string’ is my short hand for this set of subtle actions. The first time I used it, I had to explain to my partner the things that make up ‘the string’ feeling.
After that when I used ‘the string’ she did most of the actions I showed her. This is possible because we shared an understanding of this phrase.
When you work with someone, you must find common ground. You need to do it explicitly and often, or risk confusion and resentment.
2. We Like the Way We Learn –
I’m an audile learner and a generalist. I like to hear clear simple instructions and to get the general feeling. On the other hand my partner was very detail oriented.
I would get lost when she added more detail and I left out details she probably considered vital for the pose.
Meet Half Way
When we are teaching we must meet others halfway. If a person likes more detail, add a little more detail. If a person learns better by reading, write a note instead of calling.
Don’t sacrifice your own strengths, but also don’t become dependent on them. If we get stuck on our own style, we limit the reach and efficacy of our message.
3. Be Present
Teaching my first sequence, I found myself buried in my book.I was so focused on my notes, that I lost track of my partner. This is a real danger when we fixate on our plans.
When we are teaching, our presence is the most amazing gift we can offer. A book or video can recite cues. Only a live person can see and adapt moment by moment.
This is the simplest lesson I learned and also the hardest.
Pick a relationship where you are in a formal or informal teaching role.
Thinking about that role bring these 3 things to mind:
- What is one thing I say habitually? What does it really mean?
- What is my learning style? What is their learning style? What can I do to accommodate both styles?
- When do I lose touch with the person I’m teaching? What cues could I use to return to being present?
Thanks for reading!
Let me know what tools do you use when teaching?