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Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

[U]nderlying each connection are the core beliefs that the parties about to communicate hold about each other. These colour the whole relationship. If you think a person is incompetent then no matter how much you try to mask that belief it percolates as a subtle energy through the relationship, informing the feeling and nature of how you connect with the person. If you hold a person as creative, resourceful and whole […] then this also impacts on the energy of the relationship.

Anthony Eldridge-Rogers

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Explaining is hard

A formative and humbling experience of my life was spending 10 weeks as an undergraduate teaching assistant in a math class for at-risk college freshmen. These freshmen had gotten good grades in their high school math classes, but had scored poorly on the math section of the SAT. They were considered “at risk” because it was felt that they might be demoralized by the demands of college math.

The irony was that I struggled more than the students did. I had previously worked as a calculus grader and a computer lab assistant, but this class was my first experience with taking a subject that came as naturally to me as tying my shoes and trying to explain it to people who lacked that aptitude. It was a demoralizing shock to find out how hard that was to do; to look into the uncomprehending faces of people I was there to help and know I wasn’t helping them.

My desire to be a math teacher did not survive those 10 weeks. In the years since, though, the respect I gained for how hard explanation is and my firm belief that any effort I make at explaining can and should be improved have been the core of my professional success.

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