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/edu/ - Education

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File: 1608528018689.png (3.17 MB, 7016x9921, nadezhda.png)

 No.802

Does someone have to be skilled/proficient in a subject in order for their teachings to be taken seriously? Can you be mediocre, or even bad at something, but great at teaching it? Should you listen to someone of a low skill level in that subject?

Does this answer vary among subject matters? Like do you have to be a good artist to be able to teach art? Do you have to be proficient in writing to be able to teach that?

This is a continuation of the drawing thread I derailed on /hobby/: >>>/hobby/8436
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 No.803

Responding to a few posts from the previous thread so as not to derail it any further:

>>>/hobby/8451
>Discipline and free time.
If that were true, and those are their only constraints, surely they would benefit their students by continuing to practice their skill instead of putting their existing discipline and free time towards becoming a better teacher? Wouldn't developing their skill be the essence of becoming a better teacher?

>>>/hobby/8453
>also you are assuming that everyone WANTS to be a great artist in the sense of being technically proficient. This is simply not the case.
This is an interesting point I hadn't thought of. Art is indeed more than technical proficiency, it's training your creative thought process to think of new ways to represent ideas. You have given me more to think on, thanks.
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 No.804

consider two tasks, X and Y.
>Premise: if you know about how to do X correctly, you can do X well.
>Premise: even if you know about how to do Y correctly, you cannot do Y well.
>Conclusion: if someone gives advice on X, you can probably tell how good their advice is by checking how well they do X.
>Conclusion: if someone gives advice on Y, it is entirely possible for them to be bad at Y but the advice to still be good.
I can tell you some tasks are like X: math is usually a good example, because math typically relies on the use of formulae; just by knowing the necessary formula, you can solve whatever you need to solve.
I can also tell you some tasks are like Y: weightlifting is an example of Y. it would certainly be possible for a very weak person to know a lot about weightlifting if they did a lot of research on the subject, but never applied it.
Teaching relies on an understanding of the subject at hand. if all you need to do to be good at something is understand how it works, it's like X. if some other skill is involved which must be earned or inherited, in some way that mere understanding cannot supplement skill, it's like Y.
so, the question is this: is there an aspect of artistic skill which relies on something other than mere understanding?
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 No.807

>>803
>If that were true, and those are their only constraints
>only constraints
I wan't saying those are the only constraints, just that they are contraints.

>surely they would benefit their students by continuing to practice their skill instead of putting their existing discipline and free time towards becoming a better teacher?

Okay so let's take an example from my job. I am a math tutor. I'm not particularly good at computations or the kind of math that my students have to do on tests. I had extended time on tests through a section of high school and have some issues with processing speed on working memory that made that kind of thing difficult for me in school. I passed most of my classes, but I don't see any good reason to do the kind of drills myself that I sorta have to tell my students to do to prepare for tests.

Are you suggesting that for the portion of my free time that I devote to improving my skills as a math tutor, I should be practicing integration and derivatives, rather than reading math books and organizing study materials? Maybe it's worth doing some problems if I need a refresher on line integrals or something, but what would be the point in practicing

Time is a constraint that we all have to deal with whatever our job is. In every subject, there are different types of skill. You have conceptual understanding, ie. being able to explain something in simple terms, and then you have practical proficiency, ie. being able to do the thing quickly. There are ways in which these two things build off each other, but that is not the whole picture. There are also ways in which there are trade offs between the two. There is an old joke in math that the further mathematicians get in their studies, the worse they become at arithmetic. This isn't the whole story, since you do need to know arithmetic, but do you need to practice it a bunch to move on? No, just like you really don't need to practice a ton of form work to teach it. It's good to have practiced enough so that you understand the challenges that may come up, but I'm not sure it's necessary.
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 No.808

>>804
I like that you are trying to break this down rigorously, Akko. Let me try to deconstruct this though. Sorry if this seems pedantic but I like logic games.

>Premise: if you know about how to do X correctly, you can do X well.

Is this the case for any actual field? Even in math, to do problems without making mistakes you do need to practice. So I can't rally think of anything that fits into this category.

>Premise: even if you know about how to do Y correctly, you cannot do Y well.

Well this is logically equivalent to
>It is impossible to do Y well no matter what you do
but I don't think that is what you meant. Let me FTFY.
>To do X well, you must practice X.
This holds true pretty much universally imo. To be good at anything you need to practice. To be good at explaining and understanding things, you need to practice explaining and understanding things.

>Conclusion: if someone gives advice on X, you can probably tell how good their advice is by checking how well they do X.

Okay so this has a number of problems. The first is that people can have good advice on anything even if they don't actually know why it is good advice.

>>Conclusion: if someone gives advice on Y, it is entirely possible for them to be bad at Y but the advice to still be good.

This would seem to hold true universally, because the only case where it is not true would be subjects where there is literally no such thing as good advice.
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 No.810

File: 1608528020443-0.jpg (82.18 KB, 650x918, 2b589d3385ab0296e00b39cfce….jpg)

File: 1608528020443-1.pdf (11.06 MB, Peter Elbow-Writing Withou….pdf)

No, you don't have to know anything about a subject to teach it. In fact, being ignorant about it might be even better. See The Ignorant Schoolmaster ( >>332 ). The emancipating teacher's role is to verify that learning has taken place, not to tell you that you are stupid for not knowing what they already know.

Of course, if you are trying to imitate a technique, it makes no sense to imitate someone who you perceive as mediocre. You should aim for the top! But their own little story of how you have to do it is of no consequence.

> Do you have to be proficient in writing to be able to teach that?

I am posting Peter Elbow's Writing without Teachers, which is a great book about this exact topic. Spoiler: no.
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 No.812

>>810
Based. Tank you anon.
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 No.813

>>802
Knowing the formal rules, though processes, steps to take, fundamental principles conciously is not the same as being able to apply those things on autopilot.
The former makes a good teacher, being able to explain exactly why and how, through concious effort, the latter makes a skilled person.
You can have the former without the latter or vice versa. Often people who are very skilled have internalised the rules to such an extend they cannot seperate the rules from the whole and are thus unable to teach. Also often the people with the theoretical knowledge spend most of their time formalising those rules than applying them in day to day work, and as such aren't as skilled.

So no you don't have to be a good mathematician to teach maths, you don't need to be a good programmer to teach coding. Being a good programmer is applying all those rules instinctively, quickly, without effort, you have to feel instinctually that a piece of logic is "not nice". But teaching requires the ability to apply all these steps conciously, out loud, step by step, formally, not quickly. Same for a mathematician, same for an artist, same for any job.

Skill is not neccecarily knowledge and knowledge is not neccecarily skill.
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 No.816

>>813
Does everything have to be explicitly said for the student to learn? You can learn a lot about good programming by carefully reading good programs, you can learn a great deal about dancing by carefully watching experts dance. In workplaces a good deal of training is often done simply by observing more experienced colleagues working.
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 No.872

>>816
You can learn by trying to decipher what makes other works good but that is not what you pay a teacher for. It takes many times longer to get a feel for good code, and even then it's total bs to think you can learn good code from experience alone.
Good code is build on strict principles, database designs have hyper formalised definitions to ensure it meets all qualities of good design. Solid dry and other quasi buzzwords have to be explicitly taught in order to be applied, even if the programmer later forgets which of the 20 buzzwords made him consider that choice.

You could try to learn to draw or learn to code just by watching other people draw or other people code, but in reality that is not what happens. In businesses were programming happens, new colleagues are corrected with explicit mentions about why a certain choice is better than others. When drawing, or any other skill, trying to decipher the reason behind a choice will just lead you to 20 wrong ends. The total accumulated decisions obscure the reasoning and in trying to immitate it you end up with people who exhibit cargo cult mentality.
Just look at people who for no reason try to apply certain coding patterns everywhere because "he saw someone else do it" or all the artists drawing horrible shaded drawings because "they saw other artists put in highlights".

You can't learn well from just observing the end result. You have to know the reasons for all choices, so you know why it's there, so you know when to break the rules. That is what a teacher is for.
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 No.883

>>872
Relational databases have well-understood mathematical properties but even those can't tell what a good database design is, only pinpoint some obviously bad ones. For example, you can calculate how much redundancy you store, but some extra redundancy may actually be desirable to speed up critical queries. It's not as black and white as you make it to be. There are some similar metrics for code but I don't think anyone actually makes use of them, since blind conformance to metrics is a sure way to ruin your code. Programs are written to be read, not to satisfy "cyclomatic complexity" targets.

Design patterns are a good counterexample, because often they are taught to be a silver bullet for good programming when in fact they are not. They are just common solutions to common problems. Students will mindlessly try to apply them to every problem they come across even when there is a much better solution, because they were taught that this is what they should be doing. I never heard of this actually happening because "they saw someone else doing it", like you claim, but I can recall many cases where they did it because they were taught to. Maybe in drawing it is different, but I am sceptical. The problem with teachers is that they become the sole arbiters of what is considered good/desirable/acceptable and thus rob the student of their confidence in their own judgements. In industry if every code review you give ends up in a small lecture of coding practices, there's a good chance your poor colleague will forever remain a junior programmer because you don't even give them the chance to explain their reasoning. Anyway, they are going to learn a lot more from reviewing your code than from your code reviews.

> You can't learn well from just observing the end result.

Experience says otherwise.

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