Who Teaches YOU?

As a undergrad and graduate teacher, I have come to recognize some indelible facts about how groups work together in a room – that students don’t usually trust. The most profound of these facts is group learning. For example, when we’re working on an exercise that requires everyone to participate as an ensemble, removing ego and working to support what’s best for the group, things often go amiss. What’s intriguing to me psychologically about this is the feedback the students are ignoring happening all around them continually.

When people interact with each other, they are forced to face HOW they communicate, WHEN they communicate, and the push back from the people around them to guide the interactions to be more successful for the group. Though we had our first class of the

semester yesterday, I already had requests for me to intervene and tell people when they’re not serving the needs of the group. The way I think of this is telling someone a flaw is never as effective as the person realizing the flaw and addressing it him or herself. The other challenge in this sort of dynamic is this process requires patience. I don’t know the last time you were in a classroom, but few people have patience anymore to discover ways of being rather than immediate answers or being told how to be in any given moment.

Which brings me to the idea of how any problem in class can mirror life problems. As I do with my students, I encourage you to learn from the people around you and see how their feedback guides you. This feedback will be non-verbal, and behavior based. Feel into the experience. If you don’t sense any feedback, then ASK the people around you for constructive criticism. Teachers are all around you.

©2018 Dr. Heather L. Corwin

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