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Posts Tagged ‘reach

I did not feel like writing. I felt like making something.

Or rather, remaking something. So this is a continuation of my “image quote revisited” series.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

The new one above was based on one of my originals below.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.


Schools that use the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory (MBTI) for career guidance and other programmes need to learn what a sham and scam it is.

The MBTI is not scientifically-based, and yet companies make a healthy profit off the tests they offer to schools and workplaces. But I fear that this important message falls on deaf ears.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

One of my teaching mantras is that if you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them. Since scientific thinking and hard facts about the fallacy of the Myers-Briggs personality test might be too boring and dry, here is something to whet the appetite.

Video source

For a fuller and more satisfying meal, try this menu item.

Video source

Videos are not teaching material miracles in themselves. If I recorded myself just stating the facts, I would create a video-based lecture. Then not only would I have deaf ears, I would also get closed eyes.

The two videos above are spiced with a bit of drama and simplification, but they stay true to the story and facts. They are designed to disarm the learner and elicit emotions. Only then might they inform.

This reverses the order of traditional teaching, which seeks to inform first and perhaps does not even disarm and elicit. This is one way effective videos level up in order to reach before they teach.

I understand the sentiment behind this tweet. But I have to point this out: Sentiment needs to meet reality.

In Pokémon Go, it is very difficult to catch them all. You might wish to, but you cannot.

In every classroom, it is just as difficult, if not more so, to reach and then teach them all. You want to, but you cannot.

If you cannot reach them, you cannot teach them.

This does not mean that teachers should give up on students. They should give up on tag lines like “catch them all” or “teach them all” and focus on reaching their students first.

Reaching involves the heart first and the mind later. It starts with the learner and learning, not the teacher and teaching. It means going to where they are and need to be, not dragging them to where you are or were.

Video source

Yesterday I started explaining why it is important to reach kids first before attempting to teach them.

There is another important reason to do this: Every child is different.

The content of the video (the birds and the bees; human sexual reproduction) is the same. But as the video illustrates, the kids enter with very different prior knowledge, expectations, and reactions. If we rely on only one method, they will revolt.

If we observe and listen to them carefully, we learn how better to teach them.

One of the messages I try to deliver at talks is: You can’t teach them if you can’t reach them.

This Vimeo video illustrates that in a story.

Video source

Without spoiling too much, the protagonist fails to connect with a love interest because she uses a conventional but ineffective method. She learns a whole new language to make that connection.

The same could be said about teachers who truly wish to educate their students. They must reach their students first. If they do not, they might as well be talking to brick walls.

They must not teach as they were taught. They must learn a new language, one that is enabled by various technologies, in order to reach first, and teach second.

This is my concluding slide in a plenary talk I am giving for the Policy, Governance and Capacity Building teachers’ conference in the Philippines. By the time you read this, I will be enroute to Manila. After a good night’s rest, I present tomorrow afternoon before flying back later that evening.

My concluding message to the Filipino teachers is that they must understand their students, learn from them, and even be like them before they can begin to teach them.

I still think that talks are necessary evils. They may be good at creating awareness and inspiring people, but they are not good at ensuring meaningful learning or sustained action. Talks are like hit-and-runs in that sense.

What matters is the aftercare. Often the ones hit are left to their own devices. Sometimes they are given some form of support or guidance. Rarely is this support or guidance sustained.

It is not enough to reach out to people for change. They may find your message inspiring and buy in. Ideally they take ownership of the change processes.

But I have found that if you are not there over a sustained period, the change efforts peter out. You must also be there to nurture and teach. That is what I am basing my consulting services on once I leave NIE.

The old saying is:

Give a person a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

Figuratively, the saying is about taking the long term course of action. If you take the adage literally, you might wonder how many people fish for a living nowadays. We let other people fish for us.

But how about updating the saying?

The new saying is tongue-in-cheek, but it is also a humorous critique of the modern world. Phrased this way, it becomes less about the long term view and more about effective reach.

With the world changing as rapidly as it does, long term plans are harder to think up much less implement. But in a world where connectedness is key, broad reach over the short term is more effective than just a long term plan.

The most powerful man in the world… has to move his own couch!

President Obama has reached people (his own and in other parts of the world) with Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Flickr (among other tools).

Are we as educators leveraging on Web 2.0 to teach our people?


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