Teaching: the art of connecting. Lesson from the front line


Teaching is an art. Teaching is a pleasure…. when it goes well.

Last month I had the opportunity to do one of those “didn’t go so well presentations”. The topic was a favorite. The group was fabulous. What went wrong?

Parker Palmer writes in his book “The Courage to Teach” that good teachers having the capacity to help students weave connections (with content, with personal experiences, with other students, and with the teacher.)

I was reminded that before we can help people connect with the content, we need to connect with the content ourselves!

I had recently updated my presentation with an esteemed colleague in preparation for a team teaching opportunity. With his permission I included “his slides”. I thought I knew his slides – we had talked through them and worked with them several times over the phone. But when it came to presenting the material and to answering questions, the words to explain the slides were not there and a few slides did not seem to make sense!

In this incident, I thought I was prepared…. after all, we had worked with the presentation several times. But in the end, I realized that I had not really connected with his slides, with the words to talk about the slides, and with the science behind the slides.

For dinner that night I ate a lovely piece of humble pie, and was grateful for kind participants and honest feedback – both of which helped me remember CONNECT CONNECT CONNECT.

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