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RE: The path to mastery

by Anonymous Monk
on Aug 07, 2000 at 19:29 UTC ( #26586=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to The path to mastery

So I've been puzzling over this for a little while, trying to think of why it seems so familiar. And after wracking the brain for a while, it comes back to something monk-like :

...Therefore the Master steps back so that people won't be confused. He teaches without a teaching, so that people will have nothing to learn. (from the tao te ching)
but that's only part of it; isn't there a simple koan that says "increase, then decrease"? Can anyone come up with a reason as to why all of the teacher's students didn't recieve the same advice?


Comment on RE: The path to mastery
RE: RE: The path to mastery
by tilly (Archbishop) on Aug 07, 2000 at 20:04 UTC
    The teacher gave the best advice he knew how to. By the time I went through that class his advice had improved to starting with telling us that story when he tried to explain what a proof was. I am not sure how many students took it to heart though.

    (How do you think I heard it? :-)

    If anyone is curious, this is a true story. I have changed the wording somewhat (mainly because my memory is fallible so I don't remember the original wording). I heard it from the professor's mouth, on or about the first day of my intro to real analysis class, Fall of 1990, at the University of Victoria. The professor in question was Bill Pfaffenberger.

      yo bro Not sure you will get this, and even less sure this is the correct forum for a personal message but there does not seem to be much to lose, so send me something at Noraadraw@hotmail.com so I will have a correct e-mail address. Ant
RE: RE: The path to mastery
by Rudif (Hermit) on Oct 13, 2000 at 00:01 UTC
    Did the other students ask any questions?
      Having also studied math, my experience is that they probably didn't. Less than 1% of the students I have ever come across in any subject have cared enough about the sheer act of learning to ask questions. The rest were there for a piece of paper, and nothing more.

      Being right, does not endow the right to be rude; politeness costs nothing.
      Being unknowing, is not the same as being stupid.
      Expressing a contrary opinion, whether to the individual or the group, is more often a sign of deeper thought than of cantankerous belligerence.
      Do not mistake your goals as the only goals; your opinion as the only opinion; your confidence as correctness. Saying you know better is not the same as explaining you know better.

        When I taught math, I had a sure-fire cure for this.

        Every class started with a 10-minute "question and answer" period. The rule was that someone would ask questions and someone would answer. The unstated rule was that you really, really didn't want me asking questions. They only made that mistake once. ;-)

        This may only work in a class which is small enough that every member has a realistic fear of being picked to answer a random question from the previous day's class.

        This worked really well with cumulative homework sets. In homework people kept on being reminded of things that they didn't quite get earlier in the course, and since they were looking for things to ask me anyways...

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