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Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner

Teachers can learn so much about teaching by putting themselves in a position of a learner!

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.

I've recently taken up Tai Chi, and have put myself in the position of learner again.

There are a whole lot of things I'm loving about learning Tai Chi, but that's not really what this post is about.

This post is about what I've been experiencing as a learner.

The Tai Chi instructors use a 3-3-3 method of teaching.

1. First the instructors demonstrate a move 3 times. They do it slowly and talk it through, drawing attention to specific parts. (Tai Chi is VERY detailed! Every muscle of the body is facing a certain direction and performing a specific function!)

2. Then, they do the move with us, guiding us, talking us through it as we do it.

3. Finally, after practicing together, we do the move without the teacher. Even then, since there are several levels of experience in the group, and most of us watch out of the corner of our eye to make sure we're doing the right thing.

Some things I really love about this:

1. We get plenty of opportunity to see what the move should look like.

2. We get to practice with help. (Teachers know this as Guided Reading.)

3. When we practice without the instructor, (s)he watches us to see if we're getting it, and if we're not, (s)he goes over what we're not getting. 

4. We  help and support each other. 

Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner:

1. It's helpful to have different people explain something to you. Each instructor says things in a slightly different way, and one of those ways will be the way you'll learn it! 

2. As I get toward the end of the class, I start to lose the ability to focus. No matter how great the teaching is, (which is always wonderful) I usually need some "re-teaching" at the next session.

3. I need lots of repetition before something really sinks in for good.

4. Talking to other people that are learning the same thing really helps!

5. Working together and leaning on each other helps the whole group get better.

The form of Tai Chi that I've been learning is Taoist Tai Chi.

Recently, the New York Times published these articles about Tai Chi:


Five things I've learned about teaching by being a learner: here are some ways that being a learner can help a person learn about teaching.

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