“If You Know It, You Can Teach It”


That’s a fallacy.

The scary thing is that many seem to have embraced the idea and believed that if you know something you can teach it… and some of them are now in the classrooms calling themselves TEACHERS.

Being a Math wizard doesn’t make one a Math teacher.

Having a perfect accent and an impeccable grammar in English doesn’t make one an English teacher.

Teaching is more than “mastery of the subject matter.” One may have an accumulation of knowledge or may possess a special skill but it is not a guarantee that he could effectively consummate a transfer of that knowledge and skill to a recipient – the LEARNER.  Knowing one thing” is different from “knowing how to teach what you know.”

If teaching is an iceberg, “mastery of the subject matter” is just the tip. We can even say that it’s just the tip of half of the iceberg for teaching is just one side of the coin we call Education, the other side being learning.

To say that “If you know it, you can teach it!” is tantamount to saying that just about anybody who knows something could be a teacher.

Being a teacher entails not just knowing “what to teach” but more importantly “how to teach it.”  It does not follow that when you are good at Math then you can teach Math. It is difficult to assume that when you know a language you can teach that language. Being knowledgeable and skillful in one area is just one cornerstone of effective teaching. Learning is not yet in that equation.

Becoming a teacher is a tedious process. “Knowing what to teach” and “knowing how to teach it” are merely the icing of a multi-layered function of a teacher. While mastering a certain field of specialization a would-be teacher also need to study the nature of the learner. While memorizing the “A to Z” and the “one to infinity” of a subject anybody who wishes to embrace the vocation (or call it profession) must understand the intricacies of the learning process. That he should not be concerned only with teaching but also learning.

Those who think that knowledge and skills in their fields of endeavors are enough to qualify as a teacher must do a lot of thinking. Teaching and learning are both grounded on Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology and many other fields of learning. There are also principles and strategies one need to learn to effectively deliver teaching and learning. There are methods one need to get acquainted with so teaching will not become a matter of “the blind leading the blind.”

The aforementioned cannot be learned overnight. It’s a tedious process, as previously mentioned. Thus, professionals in other fields who want to become teachers with good intentions enroll in crash courses for teachers before applying for a position in the academe. And when educational administrators hire non-education professionals for they see in them a promise of becoming good teachers they make sure that the latter would undergo rigid training in pedagogy before they deploy them in the classrooms.

If one has no time and resources to enroll in a crash course for teachers, there are books on teaching and learning that can be read. Available on-line are vast quantity of materials that can also be downloaded. The only problem with this scheme is that there will be no actual practice teaching and training in the preparation of lesson plans and learning modules.

So, if you know it, don’t teach it yet. First learn how to teach it.

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