Learn Fast Teach Slow
A Focus on Intentions with Learning and Teaching Bring the Best Results
There is a place for fast and there is a place for slow. When we have the opportunity to stay in motion as learners and consume as well as process information quickly, there are several benefits. While there are advantages to teaching slowly, there are an equal number of challenges. The key is relying on focused intention, discovering methods to organize large quantities of information and breaking down information in enough pieces to keep the momentum going.
The key to thriving in education is becoming a lifelong learner. Lifelong learning involves a quick consumption of content.
F.A.S.T Stands for
Listen To Everything
One of the best things an educator can do is to never stop learning. Listen to everything. Podcasts, videos, books, and the perspective of other people help us stay current in a field that continues to change. Your mind needs to be fed constantly with inspiring ideas, informative content, fresh perspectives, and ideas that are different from your own.
A Few podcasts I listened to recently:
Sean Gaillardś The Principal Liner Notes Podcast Just Like in Star Wars
Greg McKeown´s What´s Essential Podcast Trust & Inspire with Stephen M.R. Covey
Elijah Carbajalś Shut Up and Teach Podcast A Conversation with Mike Earnshaw
The more I read, the more quickly I read. The ability to quickly consume information helps me be more well-rounded. In order to teach about the Holocaust in my 9th grade English class for example, I need to not only read Night, the book assigned to our curriculum, but literature from the Jewish perspective, German perspective and, that of people who were not immediately involved.
Consume and Apply Quickly
Read regularly so that you can read more quickly and efficiently appreciate the vast amount of resources that exist. Right now I am reading The EducCulture Cookbook, by Michael Earnshaw. Since the book is packed with ideas ready for application, I have found myself gathering an incredible amount of information. I have realized that connecting with the author through Twitter posts is a very helpful way for me to focus on what stands out in my reading and how it can be applied.
Learning without an opportunity to summarize or apply insight is a mistake.
Organize Information Quickly
I find that when I am consuming a fair amount of material, one of the biggest challenges is the ability to organize key points for future use. Often, I would like to be able to revisit a resource and apply or continue thinking about something that I had previously looked at. While I am always looking for a better way to store information, I have found the following methods to be effective.
Pocket (It is a great way to find and save articles to read later)
Evernote (Instead of having a million post-it notes, Evernote helps to organize content)
Google Drive Creating folders to house presentations, google documents and
Spreadsheets make quick learning an option. Naming folders in a way
That allows us to return to the content quickly
S.L.O.W stand stands for
L: Love focused
O: Optimistic About overcoming challenges
W: Welcome feedback
Slow teaching offers space for teachers and students to focus on the intention of a lesson. Rather than trying to cover several topics quickly, slow down and go a mile deep. Focus on teaching slowly.
Intentional and Focused
I have found that lessons where I try to cram in as many concepts as possible do not end up producing the best results.
Fortunately, I was able to see a great example of teaching with a slow, intentional focus last weekend when I took my first violin lesson. The instructor did a great job not trying to do too many things at once. Her intention for the lesson was to teach me a few basic skills and to work on playing two notes. If I was to write out what we learned on paper, it might look like very little. However, I felt successful and not overwhelmed as a learner because she refrained from trying to teach too many things in a short amount of time. When we dig deep into concepts, less is usually more. I was able to be focused during my lesson because the intention of the lesson was to slowly teach a few concepts.
Break it Down Even More
Often, I will find that I have a brief list of what I want to do, and realize that I need to break it down even more and focus on doing a portion of my original plan. For example, when preparing students for the SAT test, in the past, I might have tried to do a mini-lesson with 5 or 10 different grammar questions. Today I do one question at a time. The benefit of breaking something down more than what might seem necessary, is that there is space to focus on mastering one concept at a time.
Learning happens when the brain has space to connect the dots. When educators move too quickly it is often a struggle for learners to make connections quickly enough to process information.
Keep The Momentum Going
Gathering and learning information quickly allows learners the opportunity to stack momentum. One of the most exciting things is feeling like you can level up because of the success you are experiencing. The better and more efficient you get at consuming information will make you eager to share what you have learned. However, if we try to share knowledge too quickly, focusing on too many intentions, the people who are learning from us will struggle and lose momentum. Remember it is important to learn fast, but teach slowly. Breakthroughs are found when education slows down.
The ability to be able to learn quickly, and teach slowly is a super power in the year 2022.