I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this lately because I seem to have hit a pocket of time where most of what I read is telling me to do something. And that would be fine, except that most of the people telling me what to do haven’t a bit of experience in the field they are giving advice.
They say that those that can’t do teach, but I’ve never believed that. The most successful teachers I know are the ones who can relate their subjects to real life. Look at the rocks in earth science. Apply the math. Work with real statistics. Explain the process in detail. Relate the history to what is going on in the world now. Link the book to individual experience.
It doesn’t matter whether or not the person is an official teacher: those that have the real-world applications are always going to be more successful in teaching because they can teach from a practical point.
And then there is the flip side. So much untested and unwarranted advice out there. Productivity bloggers telling us how to manage working hours in an office when they are self-employed. Mothers telling us how to manage busy schedules and household chores who stay at home while their kids are in school. Authors telling us how to write best-sellers when they haven’t even been published.
The funny thing is that with this last case at least, people who buy books on writing best-sellers expect to see the credentials of those writing the books. And if you don’t have the chops, the book doesn’t get bought. Why are people so willing to take advice without understanding if the person knows the subject?
I am very lucky that I work in a practical field. When people in IT are writing blog articles, they show their code, and they know it works. If it doesn’t, they will be castigated. (Doesn’t happen very often, I might add.)
It seems to me that the world would be much better off, and the information out there of better quality, if those who were teaching were qualified to teach.
Photo by franzkohler