For a good chunk of my career, I’ve had the great fortune to teach. Not just teach my kids to hit a curveball, bait a hook, calculate tips, and be kind, but actually teach in school.
Big time school. The Kellogg School of Management.
In fact, we’re helping to run the next Social Media Course in Kellogg’s Executive Education program, 16-19 November in Chicago.
If you can possibly, humanly carve out a few days to attend, I urge you to do so.
Back to ZenofTen following that commercial break.
I’ve learned 10 incredibly valuable lessons from teaching, starting with this: You don’t really know a topic until you’ve taught it:
1. You don’t really know a topic until you’ve taught it, and it was understood.
2. The best way to create deep understanding is through hands on learning. Moving the hands and the mind instantiates a topic – listening only at best creates vague recall vs. actionable mastery.
3. The best instruction is born of excruciating preparation.
4. Guiding a fluid, unpredictable conversation (as students engage with questions, comments, observations, and inevitable tangents) toward a conclusion is a real, practiced art. Everyone should have this skill.
5. Often, there is no right answer. But there is always a wrong answer.
6. You needn’t be the smartest in the room to be the best instructor.
7. Never be afraid to be conversational. Human. Relatable. All material is best consumed when you want to listen to the presenter.
8. Be clear about expectations. Each session’s goals should be spelled out ahead of time, so everyone is aligned around the outcomes and takeaways.
9. Humor works. If you can make them laugh, you can make them engage, dig in, and ultimately, understand in a way that’s meaningful for them.
10. Learning is in the eye of the beholder. There is no standard set of “takeaways” and the instructor’s goal is to help each student apply the theory to their own situation.