13178: Advice, Please: Switching Seats From Teacher To Student?

Hey there, hero!

I’m just starting the process of taking a course, and I’m looking for advice from you.

Whether you formally teach others or not, we all make the move from showing others how to do something to learning how to do things ourselves.

What do you do to be as open as possible to the great things headed your way? How do you combat the assumptions you’ve made about something you’re learning? What do you do to quiet the distractions?

What are your best practices as a learner?

I’d like to maximize my level of success in this course I’m taking, and I’d love to hear your best practices.

Let me know in the comments below.


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  1. There’s a certain amount of humility in putting oneself back into the place of a learner. The challenge I suppose consists in owning in a practical way that we still have a lot to learn; success really consists in setting up the head game—just as with acting. So…play the role of an earnest student.

  2. Openness! I often switch from “director” mode to “actor being directed” mode, and I need to be mindful while doing it, which is what I hear you saying you’re trying to do. Or rather… doing. Sometimes I’m receiving comments/directions and I find myself judging the person as less skillful or less experienced. But when I consciously let go of those judgements and listen to the comment and see what there is in it that I can use, I always find something useful to think about or try or notice. It’s a little different in my situation, because a director is seeing me from the outside, and can notice things I’m not aware of, but I think the principle of openness to receiving new information in a non-judgmental way is the same.

  3. I teach, coach and direct. I find that reminding myself of what role I am playing is a good thing to do. Yes, my mind does take note and/or ask questions like “Why are they doing that or saying it that way”. And I bring myself back to reminding me to pay attention to the lesson or the direction and get whatever information is for me.
    When being directed by someone else, its easier to let go and be an actor. Of course I notice things that feel off to me or that could be done differently (better, in my opinion) however I figure I have something to learn or else I wouldn’t be involved in this particular situation.
    Sometimes, its easier to be the student and sometimes the silly voice that always gives me trouble rears its head, making it more difficult to listen. I tell the pesky little bugger to take a rest.

  4. I’ve been teaching martial arts for 30 years. I’m mostly teaching but when I’m learning I try to be flexible and not get caught up in thinking I know everything. I try to be open minded to other interpretations and methodologies. I try to find something of value. It’s rare that there is nothing of value, but it happens. I simply try to be open minded.

  5. Engage with the instructor. Online or IRL, be the student that they can rely on for feedback that their message is (or isn’t) getting through.