Thursday, March 17, 2011

On Teaching

I have always known that teaching is not equal to learning. Sometimes, learning is a multiple of teaching, but more often than not, it is a fraction. The words of Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet have deeper meaning in this context: 

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.
The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.
And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.
For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

In recent times, I have felt exasperated - however hard I try to teach - that so many of my young  students do not get the "feel" for numbers I have. And I have always felt inadequate as a teacher. Till I came across these words of Gibran recently. They immediately calmed me down. 

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.
If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

Now I understand, and hopefully they will learn more, and more deeply, thanks to this understanding. 

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