Another dot in the blogosphere?

How to teach at any and all levels

Posted on: May 27, 2017

I love this Wired video series where an expert teaches five learners at very different levels. I highlighted a previous video last month in which a neuroscientist discussed connectomes.


Video source

In the video above, another biologist was challenged to discuss CRISPR at five individuals: Child, teenager, college student, graduate student, and expert.

The previous five-level video inspired me to link it to personalised teaching. This video might remind teachers how they might teach at any and all levels. They should seek to ask questions, not just answers.

At each level, the biologist asked at least one question:

  1. Child: Do you know what a genome is?
  2. Teenager: What do you think about being able to edit genomes?
  3. College student: Do you know how CRISPR works?
  4. Graduate student: (Are there) any unintended consequences?
  5. Expert: How are you using gene editing in your own work?

Despite the different types of questions, they shared the same property. The questions drove to where the learner was likely at and were designed to build knowledge from that point.

If you seek to indoctrinate, provide the answers. If you seek to educate, provide questions.

Too often teaching starts with answers without questions. This only teaches students how NOT to ask questions. This also reinforces in teachers not to ask good questions or to not get students to do the same.

I share below a few image quotes I created in 2015 and 2016 that highlight the importance of leading with questions. These image quotes and many others are available in one of my Google Photos galleries.

The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don't tell you what to see. — Alexandra K. Trenfor

We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself. -- Lord Alexander.

Good GRADES may help you LOOK smart. Good QUESTIONS help you GET smart.

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