(#265) That’s Not Teaching. That’s Talking!

Teaching and learning need to remain inextricably connected.

A few weeks ago I had the honor of being placed in the songwriter’s spotlight at the Atlantic Beach (FL) Songwriters’ Night.  I was humbled to get the invitation and once I was sitting on stage that feeling magnified.  I didn’t have stage fright or anything such as that.  From my vantage point that evening I was able to see some very accomplished local songwriters in the audience.  As I told them that night, “I am honored but I am not a songwriter. I do write songs but that does not make me a songwriter. I play guitar. That does not make me a guitar player.”

As I’ve written on this blog before, just because I use the bathroom a number of times each day that does not make me a plumber.

Someone who writes is not necessarily a writer.  Truman Capote’s words ring in my ears: “That’s not writing. That’s typing.”

Image by Master Isolated Images @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Master Isolated Images @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can apply the sentiment to (just about) any calling.

Take teaching for instance.

When I first started teaching at the college level, a veteran professor decided to give me some unsolicited advice on what (he thought) makes a good teacher.  He told me with a very straight face, “Steve, my job is to profess!  The students’ job is to write, or not, what I say.”

Oh boy!

A colleague in Texas shared a spot-on article with me this week about the need to make sure our teaching and learning remain inextricably connected.  Just because I have tossed it does not mean my students have caught it. Telling does not equate to learning.

My veteran colleague whose job it was “to profess” was knowledgeable but did he teach? As in, did he assist in learning? Perhaps. But more is needed than fact dispensing.  The author of the above article presented the case as such:

Learning can occur without a teacher,
but teaching in the absence of learners is an
activity without justification….

Above all, a teacher connects with students in more ways than an academic manner such as providing personal validation, a sense of relevance, and nurturing of self-efficacy. That requires a talented and skillful teacher.

For the poor instructors, I say, “That’s not teaching. That’s talking.”

But hope springs eternal in the breast of this veteran teacher. No matter what calling you find yourself in (health care, hospitality, sales, writing, handyman, nanny or ….) an effective mentoring program can help move the talkers and posers to guides and connectors. Apprentices need the guidance of the experienced.

They deserve it and so do those you serve.

Video recommendation for the week:

I will leave you with this video that speaks to teaching the child. It holds for adults as they, too, need encouragement. They, too, come in assorted sizes, shapes and skill-sets.  Yes, the subject matter matters but the nurturing and the connecting matter as well.

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (both in their third edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


About stevepiscitelli

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This entry was posted in effective teaching, faculty development, leadership, Mindfulness, professional development, Teaching, teaching and learning and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to (#265) That’s Not Teaching. That’s Talking!

  1. I am somewhere between “inspirer” and cheerleader.


  2. SandySB says:

    Like all communication teaching is a two way process.
    We can be he best teacher in the world if we have the right students!
    At medical school we had a teacher who thought he was doing a good job by filling the 50 minutes exactly with a precis of the text book. some thought him brilliant, some gave up going…..


    • No question in my mind….there is a role for each in the classroom. Similar to sports, the coach provides the guidance and expertise and the player must do the work. And it does help when the coach can connect at a deeper level than just game knowledge (or yelling or ….) But the student has to be more than a passive participant as well. Thanks for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wall, John J. says:

    Well said, Steve!

    John J. Wall, Ph.D. Dean of Arts and Sciences, Downtown Campus Florida State College At Jacksonville 101 West State Street, Room A-1193 Jacksonville, FL 32202 Phone: (904) 632-3026

    From: “Steve Piscitelli: Growth and Resilience” <comment-reply@wordpress.com> Reply-To: “Steve Piscitelli: Growth and Resilience” <comment+ewnngaj-ykdz7nlvtm02bjp@comment.wordpress.com> Date: Sunday, June 21, 2015 at 7:32 AM To: “Wall, John J.” <john.wall@fscj.edu> Subject: [New post] (#264) That’s Not Teaching. That’s Talking!

    stevepiscitelli posted: “Teaching and learning need to remain inextricably connected. A few weeks ago I had the honor of being placed in the songwriter’s spotlight at the Atlantic Beach (FL) Songwriters’ Night. I was humbled to get the invitation and once I was sitting on stage”

    Liked by 1 person

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