Thursday, October 7, 2010

John Fahey on teaching and learning

Guitarist John Fahey, from a handwritten lesson on C tuning:

I like to teach guitar to people. People, or students who learn. Nobody likes to teach somebody who does not learn because that is not teaching & not learning.

In order to learn something, some use of


is required. Teaching & learning is not showing somebody the same thing over & over, ad infinitum.

comments: 1

normann said...

No it is not. I felt this acutely the fifth (and last) time I taught second semester Latin. Unlike the third time, the very best class I ever taught and the most fun I ever had teaching, the fifth group was terrible. Two or three of the group kept making exactly the same mistakes over and over, one student invariably and insistently translating active sentences beginning with the direct object as passive, so that the first word could be the subject. Of course, the underlying semantic content is more or less the same (though not quite, if you think about the pragmatics and focus of active versus passive). At that stage, however, we want more literal, less idiomatic translation, so that we can be sure the students actually understand what the text "says," i.e. the word-for-word equivalent in English (as opposed to what it "means," i.e. the idiomatic English equivalent, a.k.a "what an English speaker would say"). So when for the ninety-ninth time I pointed out his rendering was not what the sentence said, reminding him and the class that they had not yet had the passive voice, and then writing on the board what the sentence would have been if it had been passive, he glared at me as if I had been speaking to him in Martian or dog. My former chair visited the class towards the end of the semester and afterward remarked on my patience with such obvious dullards. You can be sure that I was ripped to shreds in the evaluations, a major reason why I was not promoted when I got tenure.