The unspoken rules of teaching

Over the last few months I've been giving a lot of thought, and doing quite a bit of research on how to best teach my children.  Number one is already in school, and number 2's arrival is imminent…

I found quite a few good tips tonight on Twitter, by Kathy Sierra.  I'm not sure exactly how to link to specific tweets, so I've take the liberty of copying and pasting.  If anyone doesn't like that, please let me know.  Here they are:


  • by the end of the calculus course, students should feel as though THEY invented calculus (not the teacher)
  • Good learning nearly always involves a feeling of discovery rather than acquisition. The best teaching creates an efficient context for this
  • Too often our courseware, manuals, etc. prevent the learner from doing the wrong things. I WANT my pilot to have crashed in a flight sim
  • Awesome idea! Build deadends into the maze! A garden path… an approach that looks oh so right but ends horribly– better that learners *feel* the pain (safely)
  • Good teachers set us up for success, but they should ALSO set us up for strategic failures. When things work as expected, we remember less. 
Each of these tips are great.  You need to teach your students how to do things, but they'll learn a lot better if you set them up for failure in a safe environment, and then help them correct the failure.  A shortage that I've noticed in our OBE education system, is that it seems that kids are only getting taught how to do things, but never taught how to overcome any failures.  We need to get that extra part of the teaching in before the system will start working.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *