Avoiding the teacher trance

Johnnie Moore

Johnnie Moore

I’m Johnnie Moore, and I help people work better together

image-0008Another sample from Nothing is Written:

It’s easy to slip into a teacher trance.

On the surface it looks like serious learning is happening as the expert dispenses knowledge and the students appear to be respectfully appreciating it. The trainer is set up as an expert giving her status over others. This can be flattering to the ego of the trainer and quite comforting to the audience, reducing their responsibility for the learning. The trainer gets repeated signals that she’s supposed to be authoritative, and becomes quite attached to the power and/or responsibility.

In the teacher trance, we all become attached to explanation and answers, and the surprise of discovery becomes a threat.

But discovery is what really imprints learning. As David Rock and Jeffery Schwartz say in their article, The Neuroscience of Leadership: “For insights to be useful, they need to be generated from within, not given to individuals as conclusions… Human brains are so complex and individual that there is little point in trying to work out how another person ought to reorganize his or her thinking. It is far more effective and efficient to help others come to their own insights.”

By avoiding the trappings of expertise, the trainer is more vulnerable but creates more power and agency for those learning.

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