Most teachers teach by telling.
They face an audience of students, in front of a blackboard or in a video, and telling facts, formulas or answers.
But telling is a one-way monologue, and in most cases, it’s boring and ineffective. There’s a far better way, and it was developed more than 2000 years ago by a man in ancient Greece.
The greatest teacher
Socrates is considered to be the greatest teacher the world has ever known. The essence of his technique is a two-way dialogue between the teacher and the student.
How does it work while teaching a child? It’s simple—the teacher must avoid giving away the solution or the answer. Instead, the teacher must use cues—questions, hints, nudges—to keep pushing the child forward, till they discover the answer on their own. In other words, the teacher must cue, not tell.
Let’s take an example. Suppose that the child needs to learn the formula of a cylinder’s total surface area. A cylinder, when opened and unrolled, yields one rectangle and two circles. Using this insight, it’s easy to derive the formula as 2πr(h + r). If you’d like to jog your brain, you can take a few seconds and work it you yourself:
The end outcome of this dialogue is a child discovering the 2πr(h + r) formula on their own!
I’ve taught more than 10,000 students myself and I started out as a ‘teacher-who-tells.’ But with experience, I’ve transformed into a ‘teacher-who-cues.’ I can tell you that cueing is unbelievably more effective than telling. That’s why we follow this philosophy religiously at Cuemath. Every Cuemath teacher is rigorously trained to cue, and to not tell. And by the way, that’s why we are called Cuemath. :)
If you liked this, you might be interested in exploring Cuemath’s LIVE online classes, where expert tutors teach math and coding by cueing instead of telling.
Cuemath is the world’s leading platform for learning math and coding skills from students of grades K-12.