Mar 062012
Learning Spanish by Zador Spanish School

The sharing of knowledge is a two-way street. Both the student and the teacher have to take responsibility for their parts in this process. Before a teacher can teach, the student must be willing to learn. But if the student who is willing to learn still does poorly in the subject matter after due diligence, then the teacher may have to review the way they share their knowledge.

The Responsibility of the Student

Before a teacher can share his knowledge with the student, the student must be willing to learn. The student must have the sincere desire to learn what the teacher has to teach. If the student is not sincere, then no matter what kind of effort the teacher makes, it will all be in vain.

The Responsibility of a Teacher

In Ancient China, a teacher for a day is equivalent to being a teacher for life. Such is the heavy responsibility of being a teacher. Teaching and the sharing of knowledge shapes lives in ways we cannot imagine. Thus, teachers need to ensure that students get the lessons right.

Guidelines for Sharing of Knowledge

I am no expert when it comes to the sharing of knowledge. But from my experiences, I have found the following points helpful.

1. Awareness

Every student is unique. Before you can share your knowledge, you need to find out exactly how much they know. It would also be a good idea to have some idea of the way their mind works. Their nature, experiences and influences will affect the way you share your knowledge with them. These insights will help you to share your knowledge in a way that they will understand with greater receptivity.

2. Timing

Timing is vital to many areas of life and the sharing of knowledge is no exception. There are times when a student may not have the necessary foundation to grasp the knowledge he or she seeks. They may simply not be ready for the answer. Thus, even if they knew the answer, they may not be able to appreciate it. A good teacher is aware of timing and adapts the knowledge he shares accordingly.

3. Clarity

The key to the sharing of knowledge is to make it understandable. The most profound of knowledge has little value if no one can understand it. When it comes to the sharing of knowledge, clarity is vital. The lesson must be as simple as possible and no more. It is ideal to tailor the lesson to the level of the students involved. The points themselves must be clear and precise with no ambiguity that may cause confusion. If your audience cannot understand it with ease, it may need further simplification to give it greater clarity.

4. Listening and Feedback

Finally, the most important part of the sharing of knowledge is feedback. Only through feedback will you be able to gauge how much the other person has absorbed and understood. Thus, it is vital to encourage questions and feedback during the sharing of knowledge. It is also important to test that the other person understands with questions of your own. From this, you will know if you should go on, slow down or stop. Each of us advance at our own pace, thus we need to tailor what we share according to the capacity of the other person.

Parent Teacher and Student by Sean Dreilinger

Taking Action

What are your views and experiences with teaching and sharing of knowledge with others? How do you go about it? Are there any special methods you have that make it easier for others to understand? Do share your thoughts and comments below! :)

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  26 Responses to “Guidelines to the Sharing of Knowledge”

  1. Nicely written. Personally I think clarity is the top key, and I’d add to that making sure you’re talking at the level that best works for the majority of people in the group, if it’s a group, or do the level of the person in front of you. If I’m shoring up someone’s knowledge they don’t want me talking to them as if they’re beginners. But if I’m talking to someone where my topic is totally alien to them, I need to break it down like those early books most of us learned how to read from.
    Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Mediocre Or Outstanding LeadershipMy Profile

    • Hi Mitch,

      I agree with you. Clarity is indeed the top key when it comes to the sharing of knowledge. I also agree we have to tailor that clarity according to our audience’s level. Otherwise, we are liable to create more confusion than understanding. And in the end, it would be a waste of time and effort for everyone.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  2. Since we are all so different, each of us receives information more effectively in a different way. There is not a “one way fits all” approach to sharing. Awareness has to be put with clarity. That is why I am so pleased to be part of a team of teachers. If a student does not understand my more visual way of sharing, they will understand the knowledge as shared by one of the other instructors.

    Listening, yes, you have to know where they are coming from… what angle they are looking at the data! Timing and feedback are also needed. You did a great post here, Irving.

    • Hi Barbara,

      That is a great insight you have shared. We are indeed unique and hence we receive information in our own way. This is something that is easily overlooked by many people or taken for granted. As a result, there is much miscommunication when there shouldn’t be.

      I agree we should find the approach that fits the student. If one method does not work at first, try another. The goal after all is to ensure that the student learns what he or she needs to learn.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  3. Having just retired after teaching law students for 20 years, I can verify your excellent suggestions. One of the things I always did throughout a course and particularly at the end of the semester was to ask students, “What did you learn and how did you learn it?” Students are usually the best experts on their own learning styles. Helping them become self aware of their own learning process helps them become more invested in it and more proactive in getting what they need.

    I also put them in the role of teacher, asking them how they would teach the subject matter to someone who wasn’t in the class. A Course in Miracles says that we teach what we want to learn. So thinking of themselves as teachers helped them explore the subject matter from different perspectives at a deeper level.

    I also learned that talking less is the best teaching strategy. The best class I ever taught was when I had laryngitis and couldn’t talk at all. I wrote instructions for group work and turned them loose. As I walked around the room, I was fascinated by their creativity and problem solving, and also by how collaboration enhanced their learning.

    As you can tell, I love talking about teaching and learning! I’ll stop now before I really get carried away! Great post.
    Galen Pearl recently posted..Reflections on LentMy Profile

    • Hi Galen,

      It is an honour to have my views verified with your experience! At least I know I am on the right track. :)

      I certainly do not recall my teachers asking me what I have learned and how I learned it. If I knew these questions 10 years ago, it would certainly have made a great difference during my studying phrase.

      I agree that trying to teach something will help us to learn better. This is coming from my own personal experience as well. It certainly helps us to look at what we know from the angle of the teacher to uncover insights we may have missed before.

      It is true that letting students learn on their own is a great teaching strategy. But this can only happen when they have already grasp the basics. I too have enjoyed setting questions and watching my students come up with creative solutions on their own. From this exercise, I can clearly gauge how much they have absorbed and understood.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  4. Hi Irving,

    With regards to point 2, a saying comes to mind: when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. I find that indeed there is a perfect timing when it comes to the acquisition of knowledge. And that the right resource will usually come forth during such a time.

    I like your point 4 very much. It is important to test. My daughters don’t like it whenever I give them mini-tests. There are no punishments for wrong answers. However, it is a way for me to know how much they have learned. Despite not liking these tests, they find that they are better off because of them.

    Great article! I enjoy your discussion because it is on a topic that I do not get to read everyday.
    Evelyn Lim recently posted..How To Let Go of the PastMy Profile

    • Hi Evelyn,

      Yes that is an apt saying. If the student is not ready, then even if a teacher appeared in front of him, he would not recognize let alone appreciate what the teacher has to offer.

      I can empathize with your daughters. I always disliked being tested because I was afraid I would give the wrong answers and look bad. That said, being tested does cause me to understand what I learn better. I guess it is a matter of delivering the test in an encouraging and supportive way.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  5. Hello Irving – thanks for your insights on the teaching and sharing of knowledge.

    Knowledge is surely power and clarity in itself is power. So I become clear with whom I’m talking to – I listen, understand and then I can share my knowledge with them. Not everyone is ready to accept and receive knowledge for “READINESS” is all….

    Thank you for your words of wisdom,

    • Hi Nancy,

      Indeed knowledge is power.

      I like how you emphasize listening and understanding before you share your knowledge with people. By making the effort to know how much your audience knows, you will be able to tailor your delivery of knowledge so that it is clear to them. And if they are not ready for it, it is better not to confuse them through the sharing.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  6. These are all excellent suggestions, Irving. I think I would add “kindness” to the list. I find this brings a different quality to the learning experience.
    Sandra / Always Well Within recently posted..How Far Would You Go to Save a Tree?My Profile

    • Hi Sandra,

      That is a wonderful addition! :)

      Kindness certainly brings a positive quality to the learning experience. Used wisely in the right conditions, it will ensure that the learning process is pleasant and easier to absorb.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  7. As a future teacher.. This is very important to know the factor that contribute in learning..
    Mirana recently posted..Chamonix AccommodationMy Profile

  8. Thanks for posting this interesting article, I really do like your point on the double responsibility of student and teacher. Sometimes, people forget about the responsibility of the student, and that’s incorrect.
    Julie recently posted..wisdom teethMy Profile

    • Hi Julie,

      Yeah, both the teacher and the student have to play their respective roles in the learning process well. Otherwise, there is no way that any meaningful sharing of knowledge can take place.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  9. What a great message, Irving!

    The most important factor I pulled from this was actually in the first part of the post. You shared, “the student must be willing to learn.” This I think is the most important factor in sharing of knowledge. If the person isn’t open to the lesson, it’s redundant to try and teach it. Not saying that it wouldn’t be worth it, because our minds are incredible tools, and we can not be listening to something and not hearing it; but it will still get absorbed inside of our think tanks.

    The guidelines you listed were right on point though. And I also love the Chinese saying about “a teacher for a day.” That was great.

    Thanks for this insightful post, bro. This was good stuff, indeed!! :)
    Deeone Higgs recently posted..The 3 Steps of Intuition’s ConfirmationsMy Profile

    • Hi Deeone,

      Indeed the mindset and the attitude of the student is very important when it comes to receiving knowledge from the teacher.

      This is why it is so important for the student to seek out the teacher and not the other way around.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  10. Hi Irving – I think you do the “listening” bit very well. A lot of people dont listen. You listen well, even though through emails haha
    It makes you a great teacher!
    Noch Noch
    Noch Noch | be me. be natural. recently posted..a no-guilt-no-pressure friendMy Profile

    • Hi Noch Noch,

      Thank you for the kind compliments!

      The sharing of knowledge is a heavy responsibility and I want to make sure that I do this well.

      It would not rest easy on my conscience to know that I gave the wrong advice or to have shared something that is incorrect.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  11. A very thoughtful post Irving. I think it is important to allw yourself the humility to be a student at all times – even when teaching younger ones one is till able to learn. Being silent occasionally is also key to teaching and learning, providing as you have mentioned you get the timing right. You learn a lot by shutting up for a while!
    pea recently posted..Simple Rustic HomeMy Profile

    • Hi Pea,

      Yes. We should have the humility to be a student at all times even when we are teaching. I believe that the sharing of knowledge is a two-way process. When we interact with others, they might prompt us to think of things from a new angle.

      I also agree that being silent when you should be to absorb or to allow the student to absorb the lesson is also important.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

  12. Timing is really important in sharing knowledge for people especially for kids…There are times when kids are not in the mood, they won’t really like teaching them and they cannot absorb it ever…
    AizaMay recently posted..Tomira DatingMy Profile

    • Hi AizaMay,

      That is a great point. Timing is really important when it comes to sharing knowledge.

      As you rightly point out, this is more so for kids.

      We have to be aware of and sensitive to the receptivity of our audience when it comes to sharing knowledge.

      Otherwise, it is just a waste of time for both sides.

      Thank you for sharing your lovely comments! :)

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