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Teacher - student relationship - learning from an expert vs some semi-newbie to the subject

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posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:12 AM
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I just had a class on learning some industrial equipment and the instructor had been using this stuff for 30+ years. There were about 8 of us in the class and the process wasn't that difficult to learn but I will have to say that the instructor seemed to make it much more confusing and difficult than what it should have been.

The guy would explain the mistakes he made (many of which seemed ridiculous even to use newbies) and go into detail about what he did and why he thought it would work - but the thing is, it made little sense to most of the students. Many thought we were being taught a different method, they didn't catch on that it was incorrect b/c he would mix/match "do's and Don'ts" in the story.

Then there were all the self congratulation stories about how "in his day....." which had NO bearing on the class but ate up 25% of the time, which made it run over by 45 minutes w/o 1/2 the class even being able to do any of the required work.

I had followed along pretty close and a lot of it was similar to other thing's I've done, so I picked it up quickly and when it came time for individuals to do their projects (well people in the group helped each other, we were supposed to), I found it extremely easy to explain the process so everyone could understand (but had the instructor butting in telling me I was messing up or was wrong, even though it was working correctly). After a few students went through, with the instructor stepping back, we were flying through the process (about 1/4 the time it took the instructor to demo it, even w/o explaining).

I talked to other members of the group and they felt the same way, after the instructor was done explaining, they were largely lost, they knew what the process was supposed to do but no idea how to do it, and I think that was because he threw in so much personal stories (1/2 completely unrelated to topic) and didn't explain some of the more detailed aspects and why things needed to be done that way.

I'm sure other people with similar backgrounds to me and the instructor would have been fine, but for people who are coming from a completely different field, I wonder if having an "expert" teach these types of classes is the best thing, especially for "intro" classes. I'm wondering if it might not be better for a person who just learned the process (learned it well enough to do on their own and a little experience/time working with it) might be better suited, b/c they remember the questions they had, what they thought was confusing, etc.

I know I get the same way as the instructor when explaining some computer stuff, especially to my parents. It's hard to back down the level of expertise to the "newbie" level again and even when you think you are helping them by explaining your past mistakes, or tricks/tips you learned or telling them WHY this happens, etc, that might be info overload and counter-productive. So a "semi-novice" that has a decent handle on the topic might be better suited to teach the beginners because this type of thing doesn't happen so much, it basically can't.

Now when it comes to the more advanced or expert levels, then I understand needing someone who has a lot of experience and then you would be able to relate to the stories instead of starring at them like WTF...

Anyone else come across situations like this or have other newbies be better teachers than experts with years of experience? I know the tech world is full of issues like this, and probably in the trades as well.




posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:23 AM
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Awe man. That was soooo not what I was expecting to read.




posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:29 AM
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My mind is going in many directions on that. What pray tell were you thinking?



posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:32 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

Sounds like he loves to talk and Express himself and hes found a job where he can literally force people to sit down and listen to him prattle on about the things in life He finds to be interesting.

It sucks because the guy is probably really good and knowledgeable and if you spent all day with him, ON the job, youd probably learn a lot... But a couple hours in a classroom is a different story. Hes gotta learn to compress that knowledge into bite size pieces.

I have a problem with it too. Even here at ATS I type such long posts, and as I suspect it is for the instructor you mentioned, I think most of what I type is for me and my own amusement.



posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:39 AM
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I learned a lot of different things in my life, opting to learn them from multiple teachers, professionals in the field. Everyone has some special knowledge, you can even learn by someone who screws something up, you learn not to get talked into doing it that way in the future.

I have lots of experience in multiple fields, but was only legally considered a professional in two. I love learning new things, the day I quit learning is the day I die.

Yes, some teachers are not very good, they may know part of the job, but most times they can;t comprehend all of the stuff. Also, people who are professionals, tend to forget that the novice knows nothing, they think the student knows the basics, but much of the time the skipped common sense steps just confuse the student. I use examples when teaching people things all the time, it helps to explain the principles I may have missed telling them in the content. I read scientific research a lot, and to read the articles correctly you need to understand underlying principles to evaluate the research properly. Sometimes the person who interprets the results does not totally understand what the researchers know because the researchers think everyone knows certain basics so they do not mention some things, assuming it will be understood properly.

All trades, including sciences, have their own language and also on hand on site training is essential so the student can actually see something happen and ask questions the instructor may have thought they knew. Experts some times make poor teachers. Students need to be able to ask questions to fully comprehend things.

In the OP, the instructor was assuming he was teaching people with no experience, for some of you who can comprehend things, his teachings were boring and confusing because it conflicts with the way you have learned already.



posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:39 AM
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originally posted by: DigginFoTroof
My mind is going in many directions on that. What pray tell were you thinking?


That some lefty was pushing a new agenda.




posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 10:54 AM
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originally posted by: 3n19m470
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

Sounds like he loves to talk and Express himself and hes found a job where he can literally force people to sit down and listen to him prattle on about the things in life He finds to be interesting.

It sucks because the guy is probably really good and knowledgeable and if you spent all day with him, ON the job, youd probably learn a lot... But a couple hours in a classroom is a different story. Hes gotta learn to compress that knowledge into bite size pieces.

I have a problem with it too. Even here at ATS I type such long posts, and as I suspect it is for the instructor you mentioned, I think most of what I type is for me and my own amusement.


I agree and i'm guilty of it as well. I want to be clear, I like the guy alot, I just think newbies need a "cleaner" more straight-forward explanation that doesn't sidetrack or confuse them.

I'm with you on ATS posts. The problem is there is a wide range of people reading, some understand what you mean by context, others you have to spell it out (multiple times sometimes) and even then you get people responding/attacking b/c they didn't understand what you wrote. So i've ended up being more verbous than I would be in person b/c in person, it's easy to repeat/correct something in real time. Here, well we've seen the arguments over mis-interpretation OVER and OVER.

On a side note, I don't think you write too much (expanded details, ramble, etc) it's usually relevant IIRC, and often gives greater context to what is going on. People too often overlook the small details which can have a huge impact on the story or how it is perceived/understood, so for the sake of clarity on the first pass, write what you see fit. If the response is TLDR, then they weren't interested to begin with, and those people are usually selfish and won't add much from my experience.



posted on Mar, 24 2019 @ 03:32 PM
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originally posted by: DigginFoTroof
Anyone else come across situations like this or have other newbies be better teachers


In one of my university classes, the professor would come in, sit at his desk silently, and literally not teach anything. We would all sit there and just do the homework and leave. One day a student asked the professor a question about how to do the one part of the homework, so the professor came over and sat with the student and tried to figure it out - except he couldn't, because he didn't know how. Another student ended up having to help the first one.



posted on Mar, 25 2019 @ 11:35 AM
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originally posted by: trollz

originally posted by: DigginFoTroof
Anyone else come across situations like this or have other newbies be better teachers


In one of my university classes, the professor would come in, sit at his desk silently, and literally not teach anything. We would all sit there and just do the homework and leave. One day a student asked the professor a question about how to do the one part of the homework, so the professor came over and sat with the student and tried to figure it out - except he couldn't, because he didn't know how. Another student ended up having to help the first one.


I'm curious as to how old the professor was, how long they had been working with the subject matter and then how long they had been teaching. I had a semi similar incident in college where the Prof was going over a test and the test & answers were being shown on the overhead projector. For one question, the answer written down was wrong and most of the class had the wrong answer (those who didn't get the test before hand - the cheaters).

When I told her that the answer was wrong (let's say she defined a word incorrectly or provided an incorrect formula), she argued for at least 1/2 hour and we looked back in out notes and they matched her test answer. Then we looked at the book and the correct answer was provided there, which wasn't what the teacher taught or was on the test. Her defense is that she had been using the same lesson plan, notes and test for over 25 years and NEVER had ANYONE complain about this and instead of being thankful and gracious, she was vindictive - even after the class handled it very maturely and respectfully - not one laugh, comment or snicker behind her back. She immediately turned us into the enemy. She ended up storming out of the room in tears screaming/muttering & sobbing saying we were "ungrateful ingrates" - this was in an advances Comp Sci class as well, not freshman psychology or freshman history.

Well she ended up "retiring" at the end of the semester, after 25 years of teaching every class a major mistake (and it was a big mistake, no idea how it got past year 1 & 2-3 semesters a year since - counting summer classes)

What my OP was based on is experts can make things too difficult b/c they have too much experience mixed in with what they want to teach, and when they add in personal stories/anecdotes, it often clogs up students minds and confuses them. Unless it is specifically related to the material being taught, not some tangent to the material, it doesn't need to be taught. With a "newbie" who has a good grasp of the topic, there is less chance of someone going off on their own tangent and they will remember the problems and question they just had when learning and can cover those easily. Many questions like this were missed by my instructor, b/c he was so used to doing the process it was second nature to him, but confusing to 1st timers.




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