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By Teaching You Will Learn

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By Teaching You Will Learn - April 28, 2006 2:40:00 PM   


Posts: 54
Joined: February 15, 2005
From: Indianapolis, IN
Status: offline
"By learning you will teach,
by teaching you will learn."
Latin Proverb

I'll admit it. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to learning. I am happiest when I am sitting in a course, or listening to a speaker and sponging up all the new knowledge coming my way. Not unlike the people who are planning their next vacation on the return flight, if I am not taking a course, I am looking for the next one to take. Or considering the next subject I can share, teach and discuss with my circles.

In the world of therapy we must live by the core value of learning. The equally important complimentary side of learning is teaching to others what you have learned. Whether it is teaching something as simple as what concrete tasks take precedence over others in a schedule or something as complex as how to make good decisions with patient care, teaching is how values and ideas get catalyzed in others.

As a leader you have the opportunity to create a learning organization. One that will attract those like minded individuals. Noel Tichy, in his book, The Leadership Engine" states, "Winning organizations not only fulfill their desired goals ...but develop others to be leaders. A person may have all the other traits of leadership, but if he or she doesn't personally see to the development of new leaders the organization won't be sustainable." The leaders you are developing in creating cutting edge clinical service, customer service and management skills will make it sustainable. It is not enough just to have experience. Leaders draw appropriate lessons from their experience and make it explicit to those around them.

Some of you reading may be natural teachers. Let's take clinical teaching as an example. You may be able to easily translate complicated clinical theory into simply related behaviors. You may enjoy having an audience of eyes and ears upon you. You may not be able to wait to return from the lecture and schedule an inservice for your entire team or department. But for those of you that run the other way from public speaking (the #1 Human Fear on the list in front of death!)consider stretching yourself slowly. Or if you are a Director, Owner or supervisor consider stretching your staff slowly. Consider small lunch and learn formats for new therapists to hone their presentation skills in a less stressful format. Consider co-treatments to allow them to teach another therapist what techniques they have learned from a course. Consider teaming a new therapist up with another more experienced presenter to try on this new role with a perceived safety net.

Teaching others ups the ante on our development. Think about the first time you took a student. Do you recall discovering more about yourself through that experience than even the student learned from you?

Peter Senge says that organizations cannot learn until their members begin to learn. Examine the culture you are creating in your clinic or department.

What are you doing as a leader to encourage learning?

How do you encourage teachable moments?

What best practices regarding teaching could you share with others in this Forum?

Thanks for reading and posting today.


Carroll Nelligan, MHA, OTR
Professional Coach
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