Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘tell

Teachers and educators can learn from press briefings.

Press Q&As are important for both politicians and the press. Amongst other things, they allow politicians to explain policy and journalists to clarify.

But politicians must communicate as best they can first. Take this important press briefing to remind us about using better masks as a pandemic control measure.

Video source

The general public needed to be reminded or educated on why cloth and single layer masks were insufficient. But I wondered why the ministers and experts did not provide examples of better masks.

These examples could be images or actual samples of such masks. The visuals or physical artefacts would illustrate and reinforce the verbal message of what “better masks” meant. See what this newspaper did the next day.

As an educator, I am not about to cite the bunk myth of what we remember aurally vs visually. That pseudoscience “theory” was a misused version of Dales Cone of Experience.

However, there is support for providing multiple stimuli for cognitive encoding. This is why teachers are taught to provide more than one medium and method when teaching a new concept to students.

Rising above, it is easier to stick to what one is comfortable with, e.g., just speaking and expecting people to listen. The problem is that your audience or learners do not see what you see in your mind’s eye. With just a bit more effort, e.g., bringing a few different mask samples, you get your point across more efficiently and effectively. Don’t just tell, show and tell.

It is easy to tell people what to do, especially if you think the advice is for their own good. But your perspective may not be a shared one.

This is because people often cannot see themselves from someone else’s perspective.

So why don’t we show them instead of just telling them?

The show does not have to rely only on shock value because an initial overload easily becomes the norm with enough repetition. Then your target becomes numb.

Video source

Better to strike the funny bone first and then the thoughtful one, just like the video PSA above on not texting while driving.

One application of this idea in education is that videos should not just replicate what a textbook or teacher should do. Substituting one medium for another is rarely effective.

In this case, the medium alone is not the message nor is it the strategy. The video should not be used just to enthral or to mix things up. It should deliver a message in a way that neither textbook nor teacher can. After that, the teacher can get learners to tell after the show.

So show, don’t just tell. Then tell, don’t just show.

About three years ago, I gave a speech in which I described how technology tools have changed but how some of our pedagogy has remained stagnant. I showed how we remain stuck at the show-and-tell method of teaching and schooling despite advancing technologically [slide].

When our ancestors learnt to draw on cave walls, they were using show-and-tell.

When we used blackboards, it was largely about show-and-tell. These days this is referred to derogatively as chalk-and-talk.

When the overhead projector invaded halls and rooms, most other strategies flew over our collective heads as we relied on show-and-tell again.

When whiteboards replaced blackboards, the strategy remained the same — show-and-tell.

Even when “interactive” whiteboards could do much more, teachers did much less and reduced them to smaller whiteboards and reverted to show-and-tell. (And some people had the audacity to call these white elephants “smart”.)

Despite the rise of personal mobile devices, vendors, instructional designers, and instructors took the safe bet: Content delivery by show-and-tell.

 by lukew, on Flickr
"" (CC BY 2.0) by lukew

Now we can add AR and VR devices to the mix. But the imaginations of some of the people who decide what AR and VR are good for is still stuck at show-and-tell.

Is show-and-tell that bad given how persistent it is? No, it is not. But it cannot be the main and only strategy in a teacher’s toolkit. After all, if all you have is a hammer, every problem becomes a nail.If your only tool is a hammer then every problem looks like a nail.
Show-and-tell is not good because it has been persistent. It is still around because teachers are stubborn, fearful, or choose to remain ignorant.

Not only do teachers need a mix of strategies, they also need a balance. Right now, the balance is still tilted heavily on show-and-tell simply because that is how teachers were taught and it is what gives them a sense of control.

But teaching by telling does not necessarily lead to learning. We now have so many more tools and strategies that it is irresponsible to teach without skilfully incorporating some of them. We should do this not to pander to the times. We do this because it results in more effective learning.


Usage policy

%d bloggers like this: