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Old 05-09-2008, 10:39 AM   #17
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 244
Re: Learning by teaching

Diane Stevenson wrote: View Post
Let me first disqualify myself by saying I am not a teacher of Aikido. There, if you aren't interested in my 2 cents, please pass this by.

I am, however a teacher by training and vocation. In fact, I teach a subject which I can confidently say I have total mastery in: English. My students are adult learners of English. And I can say most emphatically, I have learned more by teaching than by anything I ever did as a student of linguistics.
Lots of things come to mind when I think about teaching and learning. When I was 7 years old I learned to play pool in my parents' pool hall/ gambling joint. I began to teach the soldiers, on leave from Vandenberg Air Base the game of pool as I took their 5 and 10 dollars in fare wagers. My first martial arts teacher also walked in our joint. His name was Sensei Nishimori. This was almost 45 years ago.

Now, as a "oldster" parent of a 7 and 10 year old; I have become a homeschool teacher. I do not have a california teaching credential. Though, I do have a juris doctor and a bachlelor's degree.

Nonetheless, when we as a family started homeschooling the fears and insecurities reared their ugly heads. In the beginning, my friends who were "certified teachers" pooh poohed our attempts, indicating that we were unqualified.

I have come to the opinion that "education" is not a right it is a priveledge. I have learned that the responsibility for educating "your child" is "yours"...not the school's or the governments. Even, if "we" delegate the duty of teaching to "other teachers" and schools; the duty still belongs to us as parents. We are simply being more efficient in "delegating".

The result as been truly rewarding. My girls learned to read at 3 1/2 and they are several grade levels ahead. My 7 year old is doing 6th math, fractions, decimals and order of operations. My 10 year old, is sent to high school algebra class (through the public school district). We chose to delegate her math education...though, I am always choosing and overseeing her math progress.

Yet, in my teaching career, as a martial artist, I have always been aware of the adage "those who can't do...teach".

As such, I have learned that "you" can't teach a student. The student must want to and be encouraged to learn. But, you can teach yourself by using the "model" of teaching others.

As such, paradoxically, I teach "to do". I teach to increase my skill. I teach quite frankly, more for my improvement than my student's improvement. I must be able to "fight and beat" any one who walks in my doors. As such, my students are there as mirrors to my improvement. I must face them. I must allow them to test and challenge me. As such, I get such, they come along for the ride and get better.

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola

Joseph T. Oliva Arriola
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