How has learning helped you become a better instructor?

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How has learning helped you become a better instructor?

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Each week, we’re showcasing one of our 5 community values to celebrate what makes our community of instructors unique.  We have already shared 3 previous values, this week, we’ll be discussing the value “Be a learner”

 

Teaching is the final stage of learning, and at any given point in time, we all have the potential to be both students and instructors. To learn and become better instructors, we give and receive feedback and orient our words and actions around what we can control and will do.

 

“Compositing is a field that offers multiple ways to tackle a problem. As a self-taught compositor and Nuke artist, I want to share my knowledge with everyone. The field of visual effects is one where artists tend to have a lot of fun and innovate constantly. So, apart from sharing my knowledge with the world, I also see it as an opportunity to discover new techniques and perfect existing ones by teaching the process.” - Anandh (Sri Lanka)

 

Share a moment when you were a learner, instead of the teacher.

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GregReverdiau
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For me, the time I started teaching is the time I realized how I actually didn't fully understand certain concepts as much as I thought I did. I will preface this by saying that there are 4 basic levels of learning. Rote, Understanding, Application, and Correlation. The last one being when you can associate what has been learned, understood, and applied. That's the hardest level to get to. Rote is simply repeating something you've read or been told, whether you understand it or not. 


I teach aviation courses, and before you can teach other people (by being a flight instructor), you need to become a Private Pilot, and then a Commercial Pilot and then you need several hundred hours of experience in a plane and on the ground before you can become a flight instructor. By the time you're a commercial Pilot, you think you have a pretty good understanding of most things in aviation. And then you are asked to teach things. And students start asking you questions that you can't really answer because you have an "understanding" or maybe "application" level of knowledge but not a "correlation" yet. 

I believe the same concept is true for almost all other disciplines. And if you want to be a good teacher/instructor, you have to be willing to be a good learner. A lifetime learner. And not only that, but you have to find a way to understand the various possible ways that someone else can "understand" or "apply" the concepts you're teaching so you can help as many students as possible. After 15 years of teaching students, I still find new ways to explain certain concepts, especially as my student base is getting younger and has less common references with my generation. With Udemy, I now have access to a more international population. It forces me to learn how to explain my topic using references they can relate. Almost daily I tell myself: "Learned something new today!" 

 

That's the only way you can take your students to the "correlation" level. 

Greg Reverdiau - Airplane and Drone Training

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GregReverdiau
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For me, the time I started teaching is the time I realized how I actually didn't fully understand certain concepts as much as I thought I did. I will preface this by saying that there are 4 basic levels of learning. Rote, Understanding, Application, and Correlation. The last one being when you can associate what has been learned, understood, and applied. That's the hardest level to get to. Rote is simply repeating something you've read or been told, whether you understand it or not. 


I teach aviation courses, and before you can teach other people (by being a flight instructor), you need to become a Private Pilot, and then a Commercial Pilot and then you need several hundred hours of experience in a plane and on the ground before you can become a flight instructor. By the time you're a commercial Pilot, you think you have a pretty good understanding of most things in aviation. And then you are asked to teach things. And students start asking you questions that you can't really answer because you have an "understanding" or maybe "application" level of knowledge but not a "correlation" yet. 

I believe the same concept is true for almost all other disciplines. And if you want to be a good teacher/instructor, you have to be willing to be a good learner. A lifetime learner. And not only that, but you have to find a way to understand the various possible ways that someone else can "understand" or "apply" the concepts you're teaching so you can help as many students as possible. After 15 years of teaching students, I still find new ways to explain certain concepts, especially as my student base is getting younger and has less common references with my generation. With Udemy, I now have access to a more international population. It forces me to learn how to explain my topic using references they can relate. Almost daily I tell myself: "Learned something new today!" 

 

That's the only way you can take your students to the "correlation" level. 

Greg Reverdiau - Airplane and Drone Training

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GrahamNicholls
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My first experience of Udemy was as a learner, I found a course that I was interested in and I was officially a student.

The truth though is that when I first decided to be an instructor on Udemy was when I became the learner! I grew very quickly in the areas of recording and editing video and audio, creating course outlines, delivering content to a camera (a different skill to delivering to a live audience) and, of course, learning how the Udemy platform works and how best to market my courses.

 

I'm still learning all of those skills to this day, I'm always looking for ways to improve my next course and I consider myself a lifetime learner.

 

That is one of the best things about being a Udemy Instructor, I can teach others and at the same time I'm still always learning.

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I believe that learning is a life long process.  It is a way and not a destination.  Teaching is both a method of sharing what you have learned but also is the absolute best way of learning and improving your knowledge of a topic.

 

In hindsight, I wish I had understood that when I could not grasp a topic it was a signal to find a different teacher that fit my needs rather then to accept that I was dumb and could not grasp the topic.  Sometimes the problem is that you are trying to learn a topic from the middle, sometimes it's taking to large of bites, and sometimes it's the style of content delivery - The important thing is don't give up and iterate until you find the right match for you.

 

So to finish where I started,  teaching helps me to be a better learner...

 

Cheers,

 

Vince

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Greetings Vince!

 

I liked your epiphanies as to where you began learning. I am squeaky clean new in thinking of joining the instructors here at Udemy. You’re very first line convinced me that if other instructors embrace learning is lifelong, I am in a good place. 

Your statement, “In hindsight, I wish I had understood that when I could not grasp a topic it was a signal to find a different teacher that fit my needs rather then to accept that I was dumb and could not grasp the topic.“ made me sad. You are the exact student population I wish to reach. You use the word dumb. Think for a bit. Who told you that you were dumb. Clearly, those impressions of ourselves do not just pop into our minds. I am convinced that at the right moment, a store cashier can unintentionally unleash a life-time of low self-esteem - plant it in our minds so to speak. I taught student RNs for 17 years. I saw it all - the shame, the lack of confidence, and self-esteem issues. I would begin with , “You are a member of a class of 110 students out of 400+ applicants. Now tell me that line again.” We never know who, what, when, or why we drag these Gremlins around in our heads. But we CAN shut them down, caste them out, or whatever hits your fancy. 

 

By by the way, can students at Udemy change instructors that do not suit their fancy? Just wondering. 

 

Thanks for the chat. Ann

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