Friday, February 22, 2019


One of my favorite courses in grad school was Concept Acquisition – the study of how we “acquire” or learn the concept of anything: [the concept of] 2, boy/ girl, tree, math, anything. Now, before you fall asleep, I’ll get to the point:

Key element: ‘distinctive features’ are the unique elements of how we differentiate between TREE and 2 and PIZZA, etc.  THE PROBLEM is that, when we’re teaching or coaching or explaining, what seems incredibly obvious to you or me – they miss or have no clue what you’re talking about! L

YOU have experienced this yourself every time a young person shows you something on a computer – and that cursor goes flashing across the screen – and they say – “ya see?” – and you have NO CLUE what they just showed.

My point? When you’re teaching or coaching, you need to ASK what they see or thought – VERSUS what you were trying to point out.  You might believe it was incredibly obvious – and maybe even be poised to say something sarcastically.  DON’T!  You need to know what they saw or perceived or noticed before you can re-direct them.

[the concept of] “Mom is a lot like Grandma – except that Mom’s face doesn’t have wrinkles, and her hair is darker in color, and she’s a little bit thinner than Grandma – but they look a lot alike, and sometimes they even say the same things – but they’re NOT the same [concept]. Can you see that? How do YOU think they’re alike AND how are they different?”

So the main and major point is to ASK what they perceive or differentiate – and then work from there, toward whatever you’re trying to teach or explain.  In this case, it might be teaching how to draw faces or such.

Personal note: I tend to think – and perceive - holistically – so I often see similarities in people that others with whom I’m talking completely disagree and see NO similarity!  Point made?

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