Wednesday, November 4, 2015

TEACHING IS TWICE LEARNING



Pic.: Chandrasekhar Varier

“In learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.” 

 Phil Collins


“The best way to learn it well and learn it fast,” I, often, tell in my class to all my students, “is to teach it to others who are weaker than you… Teaching is twice learning.”

Some of my students get the point. But, others miss it. “How can I teach another person something, if I myself have not understood it?” they think aloud. Their argument is:  “To teach it to others, I should know it first; shouldn’t I?”

I ask them, “How keen are you to learn, to know it? If you badly want to learn it – badly want to tell yourself the story – then, you ‘will’ find how to teach it others… How to tell them the story well.”

I know of a middle-aged man. He has come up the hard way in life, and, after obtaining his doctorate degree, has been an administrator and a professor in one of the reputed educational institutions around. But, because he came from a hand-to-mouth family, studied in a vernacular medium, he suffers from a nagging inferiority complex, which does not allow him to perform well at his work place… In spite of his boss, colleagues and students appreciating him for his wonderful human qualities, he keeps hammering himself saying, all the time - “I am no good… I am no good… I am no good.”


“Are you really no good?” I asked him when he came to discuss his problem with me, a couple of days ago, “Who says so?”

When others tell me that I am no good, it is their opinion. That opinion is theirs, not mine. It becomes a reality only if I validate their opinion. But, if I tell myself that I am no good, it is my opinion. That can do much harm to my self-confidence and well-being. If I believe that I am no good, what can others do to help me?

Thus, the trick is, always, this: I should keep on reminding myself that I am good, I am efficient… I am worthwhile, and, I have all the right to be successful and enjoy the fruits of my success. From my personal experience, I know that helping someone handle a problem, which I myself am facing – is the surest way of not only learning to overcome my own problem, but also of feeling extremely good about myself…

I told the doctorate gentleman that he should help others – his colleagues and students - overcome their similar problem and he should not wait to start that. I recalled my own story… my paralyzing fears about English and Public-speaking… I told him the reason why I blogged everyday… I had started jotting down my notes in a diary, on a daily basis, when I was still in college… just to improve my English language. That habit has stood by me and, today, if I blog every day, it is only because of my own English-problem. I remember teaching English to my cousins, back in our hometown, and doing it enthusiastically. Even today, I do it… and earn from it, too! Ditto about my stage-fear. I started THE DAWN CLUB in 1989 precisely for this reason: to help those suffered from the same problem. And, believe me, for over 26 years, I have been enthusiastically helping others overcome their fear of speaking in public… and, yes, earning from that work, too!

Yes, I became a teacher, trainer and a writer not because I was ‘too good’ in the subject I taught, trained and wrote on. I became a teacher, trainer and a writer because, I wanted to learn it the most… Believe me, you can’t empower others and remain weak yourself. You can’t help others boost their self-confidence and remain feeling inferior within…

Yes sir, teaching is twice learning. Why twice, a hundred times… A life-time!



GERALD D’CUNHA


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