Getting out of learners’ way

Early in his TED talk Salman Khan makes a great point. He is describing the video he made to teach his cousins calculus.

They give him the feedback that it’s great to learn without him being there. They control the video and don’t feel the pressure of him being there, implicitly or explicitly asking, do you understand this yet?.

I think this points to a big trap that coaches/trainers/teachers so easily fall into, something Timothy Gallwey spotted some time ago in his book on The Inner Game. The teacher gets stuck in high status, with the student/client feeling the pressure to comply, be good etc. It’s closely linked to what Viv and I call the teacher trance.

This idea influences me a lot when working with people. It’s fine at times to give out information, make suggestions and offer analysis – but for me the most interesting things happen when people make their own discoveries driven by their own sense of curiosity and adventure.

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