UNITED STATES—The ability to teach is no easy task, which is the reason I have such a high level of respect for those who teach. I’ve always said in life, if I wasn’t so passionate about writing and cinema, I would have been a teacher. There is something about sharing the knowledge that you have obtained with others that puts things into perspective about life. It’s those moments where you witness someone grasp a concept that they’ve had difficulty understanding or fully making sense of. The teacher is presented with that notion that they have accomplished something that they thought would be impossible.
However, when it comes to teaching, is there one method more effective than all others? No. That is something that I believe a ton of people grapple with more and more America. I know people who have this engrained ideology that there is one method to teach and no matter what they will use that pedagogy time and time again even if it’s not suitable for the student. Now before we talk more about teaching, let’s talk about all various ways that a person can or should teach material to students.
Of course, you have the inevitable method of verbal pedagogy, which involves speaking and orally conveying material in hopes that a student picks up on verbiage and utilizes it to master the material that has been presented. Now verbal teaching involves both oral presentations and listening to audio. The problem with verbal teaching is the message can get lost within the mix.
So that is where some utilize written pedagogy, which involves teaching through writing. Let me elaborate a bit more on this. This refers strictly to no actual verbal or oral interaction, all of the teaching is taught through material that has been written and presented to the student. This can come via email, manuals or pamphlets. I have a ton of trouble with the method of teaching through written language alone.
Not everyone can grasp the ability to understand written material, especially when complicated vocabulary or even lackluster steps are presented. There is plenty that can go wrong with written knowledge that people don’t understand. I think written methods of teaching only work, when you engrain it with verbal methods. A combination of both helps present a clearer message in my opinion to the student of what is important and where their attention should be focused.
I’m a firm believer that the third method of teaching, visual learning is the most effective for many students. Why? When you see how something is to be done, it’s much easier to pick up on the concept because you’re able to actually SEE what is being done and place that into your memory. I am a visual learner by nature; I have to see something done to understand how to do it. When people attempt to rely solely on verbally teaching me how to do something or writing what needs to be done, I can pick up on some concepts, but I’m still confused. There is no CLEAR blueprint in my opinion, which is the reason another form of pedagogy, should be implemented to convey the message in a simple manner.
I would also argue that visual learning is more interactive than all others forms of teaching in my opinion. When I say visual I’m not just saying writing something on a chalk board or showing step-by-step tools of how to solve a math problem or how to complete a complicated spreadsheet. Visual learning can also involve dance, theatrics, music and so many other tools. I guess the biggest message I’m hoping to get across is that teachers or those who aim to teach cannot simply rely on what they are most comfortable with when it comes to teaching material to someone who has no idea as to what you’re talking about.
A great teacher relies on multiple approaches to convey and teach material because as we know, everyone obtains and masters knowledge in various ways. Not everyone has the chops to be a teacher, and for those not willing to alter their methods I question rather one should be teaching at all.