Those Who Lead, Teach
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” As an educator myself, that adage has always rubbed me the wrong way. I am of the belief you can’t truly master a skill until you are able to teach another.
In my elementary classroom, “Learn It, Do It, Teach It” was a regular classroom practice. Our classes were grouped heterogeneously by ability, and challenges arose when students excelled and struggled simultaneously with standards. As an informal assessment of mastery, I often switched roles with my students, making them the “teacher” and me the “student”; telling them if they could teach me the skill I knew they mastered it. This practice was two-fold: first, students that “got it” right away and demonstrated understanding were then sent out to assist struggling students; second, instead of one teacher trying to meet the needs of 25+ students during a lesson, students were supporting each other.
Recently, I came across a blog post that really struck a chord with me, written by Ed Cohen titled: “Those Who Lead, Teach.” Coehn too believes in the, ‘learn it, do it, teach it,’ model. He calls those who ‘can do’ AND ‘teach,’ LEADERS. He states,
Teaching provides the opportunity for further development while at the same time providing a view into the true pulse of the organization. If you believe as I do in the “learn it, do it, teach it” model, then it also expands your credibility, (2015).
I couldn’t agree more. Teachers aren’t teachers because they “can’t,” they are teachers because they CAN! Rather than the insulting saying, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,” I prefer this ancient Chinese Proverb: “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”
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Cohen, E. (2015, February 24). Those Who Lead, Teach. Retrieved March 3, 2015, from http://www.clomedia.com/blogs/9-your-career/post/6106-those-who-lead-teach