Tuesday, February 18, 2003


I hope you enjoyed reading "The Student, The Fish and Agassiz". I found it fascinating when I first encounterd it 1973 and still enjoy it. Some of my observations.
  1. The teacher tested for teachability early on. He asked if the Student wanted to learn and when he wanted to learn. He then immediately assessed that resolve with action. "Here, look at this fish."
  2. In so doing, he made the student responsible for learning. He did not lecture. He let the student set the pace. It was clear, by action, that the learning was up to the student.
  3. He used the Socratic Method. I'm hardly even knowledgable on this method and could learn more about it. As I understand it, though, it is centered on well-directed questions which point the learner to learn. It is the opposite of our normal lecture and take notes method of learning. Much has been written about it. In the Lean literature, Spear and Bowen, in their landmark HBR article on "Uncoding The DNA of the Toyota Production System," pointed out that this is the key technique utilized in training Toyota production associated. Jim Collins in "Good to Great" observed that very effective leaders used this same Socratic method.
  4. He engaged the learner with the task. He sat the student down in front of the fish and said "Look." He didn't let him do anything else until he showed he had learned the first lesson.
  5. He encouraged drawing, by hand. "The pencil is the best of eyes," he admonished the young student. This is documenting reality...just draw what you see. As western, linear thinkers, we all too often want to WRITE about what we see. We don't draw what we see. Shoot, what am I doing here except writing??!! Our digital world encourages words, not free-hand drawings. It is the best way to document reality...just draw a simple picture of what you see.
I could go on...but I'll spare you. I would like to publish other things that you see. Please email me with your thoughts or post a comment. I hope you enjoyed this fascinating short story and that it was helpful to you. Feel free to forward to a friend. Email me

No comments: