“If you learn something new every day, you can teach something new every day.”
American retail businesswoman, writer and television personality Martha Stewart’s quote is one that is a simplistic one: when we choose to learn something new every day, we must then choose to teach something new every day to someone else. This is at the tip of the responsible decision making iceberg. We’ve all had some type of schooling where we learned tens of thousands new concepts but how much of what was learned did we actually apply in our lives or better yet teach another. If you were anything like me, I learned what I needed for a particular test or project, applied it and then once it was over forgot about it. When looking back, most of what I learned was not really meaningful to me and therefore is the reason I did not retain it.
When we are in the classroom one of the focuses as a teacher or as a coach is to serve more as a facilitator of knowledge and not the sage on the stage. We encourage collaboration within groups, whether it is a group of students or adults and have them drive the learning. This creates a sense of ownership of the content, thus making the learning that is occurring much more meaningful. An example of this is when we have students or adults work as partners. First the main components of the lesson or activity are taught and before the partners begin to work with one another, they are given time to process the content on their own, what they learned from the content that was either just taught or perhaps from an article they just read. Then time is provided where partner 1 is able to share their takeaways with partner 2 first while partner 2 just listens. Partner 2 then shares what they just learned from partner 1. The roles are then reversed. And lastly, when everyone is brought back together, each of the partner groups share out what they learned in front of the rest of the group. That is let’s count them…. one, two, three times everyone has learned the content: 1. They learned it on their own. 2. They taught what they learned to someone else. 3. They then shared out their learnings to the rest of the group.
Now this happens in school all the time, but how do we ourselves learn something new everyday and then teach what we learned to someone else? This I believe is where the importance of reading and listening to content will teach those new concepts we are eager to learn. This depends on where our interests lies. For me it is obviously Social Emotional Learning for one but also learning about ways to continuously improve myself as a man, husband, father and be an overall good human being. This is through the reading of books, magazines, Twitter content from those I follow and listening to over 100 different podcasts (and yes I know that is a lot of podcasts but I can’t help my hunger for knowledge and ways to make myself better). I then use whether it is this blog/podcast format on WordPress.com or Twitter to share out what I have learned hoping this will spark new learning for my readers or followers. I also apply this to my career as an educator and my most important jobs being a husband and father. I know that if I can teach others what i have learned this will inspire them to want to learn more on their own.
Knowledge is power. But it is only power if we apply what we have learned and teach it to others in the hopes that the learning will never ends. The key is a two step and easy to do process: 1. Wanting to learn something new every day. and 2. Wanting to teaching something new every day to someone else. And I’ll add a 3rd step: Deciding to do #1 and #2 simultaneously as they really are a package deal. Now the ball is in your court to do something about this.
What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards developing your responsible decision making skills?