Robert Logan and Tara Miller in the book From Followers to Learners believe that there is a healthy path for ways that people learn.
“When people begin taking on new challenges and new roles, how do they learn best? Emerging leaders need support that is relational, hands-on and skills-based. They need the freedom to both fail and succeed, then the time to reflect on either experience. They’ll also need to be growing in character – through engaging with others, through life situations as they arise, and through the examples set by others…” (p. 129)
What exactly helps people to learn at their best? What helps someone to grab something new and make it their own? There are 5 basic ways that help people learn:
- When they sense a need
- When they watch an effective model
- When they get hands-on experience
- When they reflect on and debrief their experience
- When they try new things (p.130)
According to Logan and Miller “show-how” training is a model that Jesus created to educate his disciples. He used this approach in a fashion that was relational, contextual, and experiential. His strategy looks like this:
- I do; you watch.
- I do; you help.
- You do; I help.
- You do; I watch.
- You do; someone else watches. (p.131)
There is no doubt that people learn best when they sense a need. After the need is sensed, the best learning takes place in the context of doing. Jesus approached people in a personal fashion, yet it was also in the environment of the community so that they could learn from one another. On several occasions Jesus worked within the makeup of the group.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit a Montessori school in Washington, D.C.. The make-up of this school was a mixture of ages. The school was designed for the older children to teach the younger children skills they had not yet learned. Logan and Miller point out that these type of schools are of great benefit.
“Montessori schools have mixed age classrooms—three years’ worth of ages in class together. In a classroom of 3-year-olds, 4-year-olds, and kindergartners, the kindergartners are expected to help teach the younger children skills that they have already acquired. In doing so they cement their own learning through having to explain and demonstrate the skill for someone else: “This is how to tie your shoes, how to button buttons, how to pour water without spilling, how to assemble the block tower according to colors.” The 4-year-olds are both learning and teaching. The 3-year-olds are learning. But they are not only learning skills; they are learning with the understanding that when they are older they will be expected to teach the younger children. Consequently, they pay close attention.” (p.134)
This is all about people teaching people. This is one of the greatest strategies that can ever be used in developing a strong team and teamwork environment. Teaching as we learn is one of the greatest skills in teaching other people.